C-SPAN's StudentCam competition returns for its 18th year engaging students across the country in a project-based learning experience. This year's theme — “How does the federal government impact your life?” — asks students to explore a federal policy or program and evaluate its effectiveness from multiple perspectives. C-SPAN and its cable and satellite television partners invite middle and high school students to enter the documentary contest, which awards $100,000 in cash prizes.  
The C-SPAN Education Foundation awards 150 student and 53 teacher prizes. The grand-prize winner will receive $5,000, and multiple cash prizes of $3,000, $1,500, $750 and $250 will be awarded to students in first, second and third places and honorable mention categories. 
“As large and regionally diverse as America is, it can be difficult for students to understand how the U.S. government impacts their lives and their communities,” said Craig McAndrew, director of C-SPAN Education Relations. “Our hope is that students will use their projects to explore how specific federal programs and policies relate to their own personal interests, and their region of the country.”
Competition Guidelines

Middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) may compete individually or in teams consisting of two or three members. Documentaries must be the original work of students; however, teachers may provide guidance and critiques.

  • All documentaries must include C-SPAN video clips that support the chosen topic and are used effectively.
  • StudentCam documentaries should comprehensively represent a variety of viewpoints related to the chosen topic, including those that may oppose the filmmakers' points of view.
  • Documentaries must be between 5 and 6 minutes in length.
  • Entries must include sources, either in the end credits or an emailed works cited list.
  • Video submissions and entry forms can be uploaded directly online at

The deadline for students to submit entries is midnight PST, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.
The documentaries will be judged by a panel of C-SPAN representatives. High school students will compete on a regional level, with the U.S. divided into three regions: West, Central and East. Middle school students will be judged on a national basis. The grand-prize winner with the best overall entry will be selected nationally from both middle and high school entries.
Winners will be announced in March 2022, with the top winning videos to air on C-SPAN in April 2022. Competition details are available at