The Institute of Politics (IOP) hosts biannual university-wide contests that solicit student-generated policy proposals to address pressing challenges.

Winter/Spring 2024: Urban-Rural Policy Challenge

IOP is challenging students to create policy proposals to address challenges facing both urban and rural communities. The winning team will receive $500 per team member.

While politically divided, rural and urban areas both struggle with health care, child care and food access; an ongoing opioid crisis, and often, economic disinvestment. While the policy challenges are overlapping in rural and urban areas, policy solutions are often not. Lawmakers and nongovernmental organizations often draft policy that does not account for differences in population density, infrastructure, local governmental resources and access to capital that divide urban and rural regions, preventing statewide policies that work for all.

Acting as state lawmakers or a nongovernmental organization, develop a plan to address a single policy area that benefits both rural and urban communities within one of the following ten states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas. Your proposal must focus on one of the following policy areas: broadband expansion, child care access, food insecurity, health care access, hyper-local economic development, substance use disorder.


The contest is open to ALL STUDENTS and no prior policy background or coursework is required. Students will compete in teams of two to five participants and present proposals to a panel of experts.


Register your team’s participation by Monday, March 4, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Only 15 teams will be selected to participate.

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