This Year's Topic

YOU ARE INVITED to participate in the 5th Annual iOme Challenge. The top prize is $10,000 to the winning student team and $2,000 to that team's faculty advisor. The winning team will also be invited to Washington D.C. to present their entry to various policymakers. In the past, students have attended meetings at The White House and The Capitol Hill, and met with the Assistant Secretary of Labor, various Members of Congress and other policymakers, including representatives from the Departments of Labor, Education, and Treasury.

There may also be honorable mention prizes of $2,500 for teams and their faculty advisors ($2,000 for teams, $500 for faculty advisors.)

The 2013-2014 iOme Challenge consists of two parts: an essay and a video that illustrates the key elements of the essay. We encourage students to form teams with individuals some of whom have policy expertise and some others with video production skills. Team members can come from different educational institutions. Each team of students must have a faculty advisor, and the faculty advisors are encouraged to use this contest as a part of their class curriculum.

This Year's Question is:

President Obama has appointed you and your team to serve as the newly formed Presidential Commission on Financial Literacy and Security (PCFLS). The President has charged the PCFLS with answering the following questions:


How different would America look today if the “baby boom” generation saved/invested sufficiently to have a secure retirement income;


What investment vehicles could the private and public sectors create to provide sufficient incentives for adequate savings/investments in order to not have to ask this same question 40 years from now; and


What kind of an educational program could be launched on colleges campuses in order to educate your peers on the value of saving/investing specifically, and financial literacy, in general.

The President wants the answers to these questions to be backed up by solid research and/or model programs. Use your video as a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to promote your answers to these questions. Make sure the target audience is your fellow Millennials.

Essay Guidelines

  • Not more than 10,000 words;
  • Must be grounded and documented in scientific economic and behavioral research;
  • Must demonstrate a reasonable probability of success;
  • Must give consideration to the political viability of such a policy;
  • Must include a complete bibliography of sources.

Video Guidelines

  • Produce a short video (60 seconds or less in length);
  • The Video should illustrate the key thesis of the Essay in a compelling and creative manner;
  • The Video should be crafted as a visual representation of the key elements of the Essay.
  • You might think about the Essay as the screenplay and the Video as the movie.

Due Dates

  • Essay Due Date: October 31, 2013 12:59 CST
  • Video Due: November 23, 2013 12:59 PM CST


Entries will be judged on specific criteria for the Essay and the Video. Please see the Judging Criteria document for complete details. One winner will be selected as well as those entries that are judged to be Honorable Mentions. The winning team will receive a cash award of $10,000 and the faculty advisor will receive $2,000.

The winning team will also be invited to Washington D.C. to present their Essay and Video to Members of Congress, policy-makers and others who are interested in this policy issue.

Each Honorable Mention team (should any be selected) will receive $2,000 and their faculty advisor will receive $500.

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