Frequently Asked Questions

For information on UTNIF Debate Programs: Contact Prof. Brendon Bankey at 512-471-1918, or for quicker response email brendon.bankey@austin.utexas.edu

For information on UTNIF Speech Programs, Contact: Prof. Randy Cox at 512-471-1957 or via email at mrcox@austin.utexas.edu

Where will students stay/dine during the institute?

Students will stay overnight and eat meals in the Castilian private dormitory adjacent to campus. Castilian suites are fully furnished and include a microwave and refrigerator. There is a common area for entertainment, laundry facilities, and a cafeteria located on the main floor. You can visit the Castilian website for photos of the location and a virtual tour of the suites.

The University's Youth Protection Program policy requires that students be housed on separate floors according to their gender.

What is the daily schedule?

Our in-person learning schedule breaks each day into three general time blocks, with some variation and staggered times depending on the division: 

  • 8:00AM-9:00AM - Breakfast in the Castilian

  • 9:30AM-11:45AM - Morning Session - Program-wide lectures and/or meetings with assigned labs on campus. 

  • 12:00AM-1:00PM - Lunch in the Castilian

  • 1:00PM-5:00PM - Afternoon Sessions - Meetings with assigned labs on campus and/or research in the Perry-Castañeda Library

  • 5:00PM-6:30PM Dinner in the Castilian

  • 6:30PM-9:00PM Evening Session - Practice debates in the Castilian and/or meetings with assigned labs on campus. Speech students in the minor program continue on.

What are the UTNIF's COVID-19 Health Policies?

The UTNIF will abide by the University of Texas at Austin's COVID health measures. Students are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted prior to attending the institute. Additional information regarding university policy is available here.

How will my child access their required medication during the camp?

Parents/students should provide all prescription drugs to UTNIF office staff when they arrive at registration. Prescriptions will be stored safely and discreetly throughout the duration of the workshop. UTNIF front-office staff will administer proper doses of medication during mealtimes.

Can I check my child out during the workshop?

Yes. Parents and authorized guardians can check students out during the course of the workshop. It is required that all parents/authorized guardians physically go to the UTNIF office in the Castilian to provide valid identification. Authorized guardians can be declared at registration or via communication to our UTNIF office staff.

Can my child select their roommate/suitemates?

There should be an option in the CircuiTree portal to write down a desired roommate. We will do our best to honor mutual roommate/suitemate requests. Parents who backchannel Camp Co-Director Brendon Bankey by May 15, 2022 will have their child's requests honored.

What are the technology requirements for the debate programs at the UTNIF?

Contemporary evidence-based debate requires laptops for the organization of files and sharing evidence with opponents. Students should be expected to have access to a computer with steady connection to the internet. The computer needs to be able to download and view multiple word documents and allow multiple tabs of a web browser open for research. 

How will my child exercise during the workshop?

There is a gym in the Castilian. Gym use by minors is acceptable with a parent/guardian waiver and UTNIF residential staff supervision. Students should not use the exercise equipment without permission, and the dormitory may have policies that disallow campers from using the space.

What is the schedule on the 4th of July?

Many programs have alternate activities scheduled for the holiday. It is common for local students to be checked out for the day.



How do I register my child for the UTNIF?

UTNIF registration is available via CircuiTree.com. The Youth Protection Program office has provided THIS GUIDE for navigating the CircuiTree registration portal.

UTNIF – Public Forum Registration Portal

UTNIF – Speech Single Event Registration Portal

UTNIF – Speech Major/Minor Registration Portal

UTNIF – Speech Single Event + Extension Registration Portal

UTNIF – Speech Major/Minor + Extension Registration Portal

UTNIF – Policy Debate Summer Survivors Registration Portal

UTNIF – Policy Debate Skills Session 1 Registration Portal

UTNIF – Policy Debate Sophomore Select Registration Portal

UTNIF – Policy Debate Skills Session 2 Registration Portal

UTNIF – Policy Debate Novice Registration Portal

UTNIF – Lincoln-Douglas Debate Registration Portal

Financial Aid

The University of Texas National Institute in Forensics is committed to making speech and debate camp accessible for all students.

If you are interested in attending the 2022 UTNIF and need financial assistance to make it feasible, we encourage you to register ASAP and apply for financial aid by May 1st, 2022.

Any student that applies for financial aid is eligible for a full refund of their $250 application fee if they cannot attend the UTNIF. We cannot waive the deposit fee prior to registration. 

Please note that we will award financial aid on the basis of need, and the UTNIF does not offer merit based scholarships or discounts.

We will accept financial aid applications until May 1, 2022. Please prepare and submit the following materials. To protect your privacy, please do NOT send these as an email attachment. If you need to send them via fax, please contact us:

1) Proof of Financial Need - A) Copy of parent(s)/guardian(s) most recent tax return (W2 filing) B) Any additional documentation to prove financial need.

2) Letter of Personal Interest - Prospective students seeking financial aid should provide a 1-2 page letter explaining why they want to attend the UTNIF and/or the importance of speech and debate in their lives.

3) Statement of Financial Need - A 1-2 page letter from the parent or legal guardian explaining their financial circumstances.


Materials may be mailed to:

Dept. of Communication Studies
2504A Whitis Ave (A1105)
Austin, TX 78712