Competition Rules & Eligibility

  • Each team must have 2 – 4 student members, and a faculty or administrator at their college who will function as a mentor to the team.
  • All student team members must be seeking a two-year degree in the U.S. or its territories at the time of entry (e.g., the spring 2024 semester).
  • All team members must be 18 years of age by March 30, 2024.
  • Student and faculty/administrator mentor team members must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents and will be required to check a box on the entry form verifying this status.
  • Student team members must be in good standing with their academic institution, which is determined by the individual college.
  • For teams chosen as finalists, the mentor and students must be available to attend the Innovation Boot Camp to be held in Washington, D.C., from June 10-13, 2024.  
    • Students and faculty/administrator mentors will receive full travel support to attend.
      Air fare and hotel costs will be direct billed to AACC. AACC will reimburse team members for food per diems, and other related travel expenses in accordance with AACC travel policies.
  • Teams may not consist of members from multiple institutions. 
  • Teams may not have submitted their innovation to any other competition. 
  • Students who attended a past Innovation Boot Camp as a finalist/winning team may not enter the CCIC again. 
  • Eligible students who submitted an entry to a past CCIC, but did not progress to the final round, may submit an entry in the 2024 CCIC. 
  • Faculty/administrator mentors who have attended a past Innovation Boot Camp may lead another team in the 2024 cycle. 
  • Employees, contractors, officers, or judges of the sponsoring organizations are not eligible to enter the competition.  

Additional Requirements


  • All eligible entries must be received during the competition submission window from January 22 – April 2, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. PDT. 

Original Work

  • Each team entrant certifies, through submission to the competition, that the entry is their own original, creative work and does not violate or infringe the creative work of others, as protected under U.S. copyright law or patent law.
  • Faculty/administrator mentors will be required to sign a certificate stating that the entry is original and has been independently developed by the student members of the team.

Boot Camp Preparation and Participation

  • All finalist team members are required to attend the Innovation Boot Camp taking place on June 10-13, 2024 in Washington, D.C.
  • In addition, all finalist team members are required to participate in two orientation webinars (by attending the live webinars or viewing the recorded versions) and conducting assignments in preparation for the Innovation Boot Camp. 
    • Preparatory assignments include conducting a 3-5 customer discovery interviews, developing a poster for the poster session, and reviewing Boot Camp materials. The first webinar will take place on May 3, 2024 and the second on May 10, 2024. Both webinars will be held from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT.
    • Detailed information on conducting interviews and preparing for the poster session will be shared with teams upon their selection as finalists and through the orientation webinars.

Copyright and Promotional Releases

  • Entrants retain all intellectual property, copyright, and equivalent rights to their innovation. Entrants give AACC and NSF nonexclusive rights to use their names, likenesses, quotes, or any part of their submission for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, website display, social media promotion, and print materials.
  • AACC and NSF will not be responsible for any claims or complaints from third parties about any disputes of ownership regarding the ideas, solutions, images, or video submissions.


  • Winners are responsible for all taxes or other fees connected with the award received.


  • The poster session and reception for CCIC finalists may be held in a federal building. Accordingly, there may be the possibility that a federal government-initiated background check will be required in advance of the event for entry into the building. This requirement would apply to all finalists and their mentors in order to attend the reception and would be communicated with the notifications to the finalist teams.

Code of Conduct

  • The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) seeks to foster a welcoming and intellectually stimulating experience for all participants at the Innovation Boot Camp. We expect all CCIC participants, presenters, judges, employees, and staff to recognize that while this event is a place for the open exchange of opinions by diverse individuals, respect and inclusivity for all is expected. In furtherance of this purpose, any behavior, whether personal or professional, that is unwelcome and offensive, or shows disrespect or aggression will not be tolerated. Persons determined by AACC to have engaged in unacceptable behavior may be required to depart the venue and/or be further disqualified from the competition. 

Legal and Administrative

  • By entering the competition, the entrants agree to hold harmless, NSF and AACC for all legal and administrative claims to include associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to their submission or its use.
  • All contestants agree that they, their heirs and estates shall hold harmless the United States, the employees of the federal government, the employees of NSF and AACC for any and all injuries and/or claims arising from participation in this contest, to include that which may occur while traveling to or participating in contest activities.
  • A competition entry constitutes an agreement to adhere to the rules and stipulations set forth by the competition sponsors.
  •  Any entrants or entry found in violation of any rule will be disqualified.
  • All judges’ decisions are final and may not be appealed.
  • AACC reserves the right for any reason, including but not limited to an insufficient number of qualified entries, to modify or cancel the CCIC at any time during the duration of the competition.
  • AACC has the final say on any point not outlined in the entry rules.