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 2021 semester). 
      • The only exception to the above requirement is if a team member registered as a participant in the 2020 CCIC. As the 2020 CCIC was cancelled, registered team members for the 2020 competition can reapply to be a team member for the 2021 CCIC even if no longer attending a community college. Individuals reapplying must be part of a team that has members that are currently enrolled in their alma mater in a two-year college degree-seeking program; play an active role on the team; and be approved by the faculty and/or administrative mentor for participation.
    • All team members must be 18 years of age by April 20, 2021.
    • 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 Virtual Innovation Boot Camp taking place June 14-17, 2021 between the hours of 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT. 
    • 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 2021 CCIC. 
    • Faculty/administrator mentors who have attended a past Innovation Boot Camp may lead another team in the 2021 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 February 18 – April 20, 2021. 

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 Virtual Innovation Boot Camp, taking place on June 14-17, 2021.
  • 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 Virtual Innovation Boot Camp.
    • Preparatory assignments include conducting a 2-3 customer discovery interviews, developing a poster for the virtual poster session, and reviewing Boot Camp materials. The first webinar will take place on May 7, 2021 and the second on May 11, 2021. Both webinars will be held from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET.
    • Detailed information on conducting interviews and preparing for the virtual poster session will be shared with teams upon their selection as finalists and through the orientation webinars.

Copyright and Promotional Releases

  • Entrants retain all copyright and equivalent rights but give AACC and NSF nonexclusive rights to use their names, likenesses, quotes, submissions 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, print materials, and exhibits.
  • 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.

Code of Conduct

  • The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) seeks to foster a welcoming and intellectually stimulating experience for all participants at the Virtual 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 virtual 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.