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Rules and Eligibility

  • Any student, in grades 9-12, who is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who resides in the United States, and is enrolled in an accredited U.S. high school, home school, or home study program is eligible to compete.
  • Competitors are allowed to compete in one in-person regional competition and/or the online competition.
  • Each student at the qualifying competition must be under the immediate supervision of an adult who may be their coach, parent, or other adult approved by the high school administration.
  • Each regional host may establish entry fees for their competitions, in accordance with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute.
  • A contestant who does not appear at the scheduled time to speak will forfeit.
  • After competing in the final round of debate at the regional level, the two finalists from each region qualify for the National Championship. Each winner will receive a flight and hotel room for themselves and one chaperone.

For a complete set of rules, click below.

Download Rules Packet

Award Breakdown

National Championship Prizes:
$50,000 in scholarships


Champion: $10,000

Runner-up: $7,500

3-4: $5,000 each

5-8: $2,500 each

9-16: $1,500 each

Stipend for the top 2 school debate clubs: $250 each

Debate Structure

Debate Structure

Debate Guide

Student Video Guides

Debate Overview

How To Communicate

Preparing Your Argument

Resources For Judges

Great Communicator Judging Video

Great Communicator Ballot