The Wagner Review Presents

The 3rd Annual NYU Wagner Policy Memo Competition

Finalist Presentations: Friday, April 12th at 5:00pm

The 35-day federal shutdown is over. Shutdowns have become the norm, with three partial government closures since January 2018. With a national emergency declared along the Southern Border, the temporary nature of several current budget agreements and lawmakers arguing that negotiations have not been conducted in good faith, future shutdowns are likely. The direct and indirect impacts of these shutdowns are felt in nearly every area of the public and private sector and by millions of people. As policy students from different specializations, we want to hear your ideas about how to address future shutdowns.

“As future policymakers and nonprofit leaders, what are your solutions to prevent or mitigate the negative impacts of the next Federal Government shutdown?”

Potential Suggestions for Analysis:

    • After missing two pay periods, many furloughed Federal employees could not pay their rent or afford groceries. We saw some communities come together to support their neighbors. If this happens again, how can local communities support each other?
  • Vulnerable low-income citizens who weren’t furloughed federal employees faced a threat to their livelihoods as Section 8 and SNAP nearly ran out of funding. How can this be prevented? Are there back-up solutions to these programs if they run out or fail?
  • The shutdown put financial stress on Federally-funded public health programs: the Indian Health Service, which is funded primarily by Federal grants and contracts, saw a severe decrease in its operational funds. What weaknesses did the shutdown reveal for these health initiatives, and what changes do you propose to prevent these funding gaps from occurring in the future?

Suggested memo length is between 500-1,000 words. If you have questions about length qualifications, please email

Contest Rules

    • Any topics coinciding with the above theme are welcome. Participants are encouraged to approach the prompt from their policy area of interest/expertise
    • Participants must submit original work; secondary sources referenced must be cited
  • Participants are encouraged to use the Wagner Writing Center prior to final submission (found via the Wagner Writing Center folder in NYU Classes.)

Deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 1st. Finalists will be notified by 9 p.m. EST Friday, April 5th.

Selected finalists will proceed to a final round where they will present their research for 10 minutes in front of a panel of Wagner faculty and practitioners. The event will take place on Friday, April 12th from 5:00-7:30 pm in Rudin at the Puck Building.

First Place: $ 300
Second Place: $ 200
Third Place: $ 100

The 2019 Wagner Review Public Policy Competition Grading Rubric

For more information, and to enter a submission, email

*Must be enrolled in a graduate level course at NYU at the time of the competition to apply

Description: The NYU Annual Policy Competition is a school wide policy memo writing contest spearheaded by the Wagner Review. It offers graduate students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to think critically about complicated public policy issues, develop recommendations, and express their suggestions via policy memorandum. The annual policy competition also serves as a catalyst for conversation among the student body about a particular issue and opens the door for faculty, administration, and policy professionals to weigh in as well.

All submissions may be considered for publication in the 2018-2019 Wagner Review Journal