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Congressional App Challenge

What is the Congressional App Challenge?

In 2013 leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and at the Internet Education Foundation sought to foster an appreciation for computer science and STEM. That year, House leadership brought to the floor and overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 77 – Academic Competition Resolution of 2013, 411 votes to 3.

Through House Resolution 77, the U.S. House of Representatives outlined the plans by which Representatives would host district-by-district computer science, or “app,” competitions every year for students. For the Congressional App Challenge (CAC), an “app” is a piece of software, created using the basic computer functions to perform a function on a digital device (PC, web, mobile or otherwise).


Who can enter?

Any student located in New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District.  This includes students attending public schools, private schools, home schooling, and other forms.


How do I enter?

  1. Sign up and registration form will be made available at
  3. Submit your app and a demonstration video explaining what it does by Nov. 1st.


What are the judging criteria?

Your app will be judged on three main aspects.

  1. Quality of the app
    • How creative is the app?
    • How original is it?
    • Does the app address a problem?
    • If so, how creative is the solution?


  1. Implementation of the idea
    • Did the student consider the user experience?
    • Did the student give thought to the app design?


  1. Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills
    • Did the student display understanding of the tools they were using?
    • Did the student demonstrated they had learned about how to code?


What can the app be about?

The app can be about any topic you’d like, but they must:

  • Be original
  • Be appropriate
  • Have been created within the calendar year before the Challenge closing date (November 1, 2019)


Do I have to present my app to an audience?

Not necessarily.  Due to time constraints and logistics, the judges will be viewing your Application Demonstration Videos only.


What are the submission requirements?

In addition to the app, you must create a 1-3-minute Demonstration Video, outlining:

  • What your app does
  • What tools you used to create your app
  • How your app works

Please note that your entry may be judged in its entirety based on this video. It is important to demonstrate the scope and quality of your application in this video. The video should be no more than four minutes in length.


Where do we submit the app?

IEF is currently working on finalizing the actual platform on which students submit their apps.  Please stay tuned for more information.


Can I work with a team?

Yes, teams of up to four students are allowed.  If you are competing in a team, at least two of the students in your team must reside or attend school in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District.              


What if I live in NJ-06 but attend school outside of it?

According to the rules, you may compete in either district, but you may only submit an app in one district.


Is there an age requirement?

There is no age requirement. Middle school and high school students are eligible. Students may not participate after having graduated high school.


What language or platform must I use?

You can use whichever programming language or platform that you prefer. 


What if I already created an app in the past – can I submit that?

The app has to be created within the calendar year of the deadline date.  For example, if an app was published and put in the Apple store or the Android app market, it would have to be made after November 2nd, 2018 to be considered.  You may submit an app that was submitted to last year’s competition if significant changes have been made to improve the app.  You will be expected to explain these changes in the submission video.


Who are the judges?

The apps will be judged by a panel comprised of local individuals with interest and expertise in various related fields (tech, entrepreneurship, government, etc). 


I don’t know how to code.  How can I participate?

There are many answers to this question.  One is to start to learn how to code using the resources listed at the bottom. Another non-coding way to help is to join a team and focus on the non-technical aspects such as user experience, design, and project management.


Who am I competing against?

You will be competing against students in New Jersey’s Sixth Congressional District.  We will select one winner to present their app in Washington, D.C.


What are some key dates?

06/05/19 - Submission Period Begins
11/01/19 – Submission Period Ends and Judging Period Begins
12/01/19 - Judging Period Ends

Do you have an example of a past winner?

Here is last year’s winning submission.


Will my app be published anywhere?

Contestants will own the intellectual property rights to their submission, but will grant Congress a royalty free license to, without limitation:

  • Post the submissions online
  • Make the winners available for the course of the competition and 1 month after the conclusion of the competition submission period
  • Utilize the submissions for noncommercial purposes for a period of 12 months after the conclusion of the competition submission period


Who can I contact for more help?

Dan Chulak in Congressman Pallone’s Long Branch Office. 


Phone: 732-571-1140


Additional Resources

Congressional App Challenge links:

Free Coding Resources: