OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Higher Ed Challenge: Announcing Our Top Ideas!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Written by

Over the course of the Higher Ed Challenge, we were blown away by the number of creative ideas submitted to answer the question: “How might we reimagine the cost of college in the U.S. and how it’s paid for?”

The quality of ideas and the collaborations that came into this challenge over the past three and a half months has been truly inspiring. Now we're excited to recognize Six Top Ideas for their alignment with our evaluation criteria, innovative thinking and human-centered approach. Join our challenge sponsor, UBS, and the OpenIDEO team in celebrating these creative solutions for their potential to tackle the barrier of affordability in higher education.

Higher Ed Top Ideas

1Gen2Fund – With an emphasis on storytelling, this idea is a crowdfunding platform where 1st generation students can seek financial support and receive coaching to help them complete a 4-year bachelor's degree. We’re excited to see how this idea will create a community for 1st generation students and give them access to a network of funding opportunities.

Long Term Education Insurance –  By spreading the cost of college across a “risk pool” of subscribers, Jim’s idea envisions lowering the average cost of college through education insurance. Drawing inspiration from the healthcare industry, this market-based solution is an innovative way to reimagine how higher ed financing can work at a larger scale.  

UnBroke – What if families had the market power to negotiate tuition? UnBroke provides low-income families with access to tuition advocates who will negotiate down the cost of college on their behalf. It’s been inspiring to watch how the UnBroke team has been developing this potentially disruptive idea in a human-centered way.

Bludesks – Inspired by clearinghouses in the airline industry, this online marketplace will allow students to register for on-campus courses at discounted prices. Bludesks has the potential to serve as a bridge back into college for un-enrolled students who were unable to continue their higher education due to financial barriers.

EdCreds – Building pathways for higher education never starts too early. Shari’s idea is a rewards program that gives students incentives to earn financial credits towards college by participating in extracurricular and learning activities. We’re looking forward to how this college currency system will give students a launchpad for success at an early age.

3C Fund – Building on the pay it forward model, Jaskeerat’s idea is a community fund that will pay for students’ full tuition in return for financial contributions back after graduation. We love the 3C Fund’s emphasis on community and the potential for it to engage a wide range of partners at both the local and national levels.

Higher Ed Highlights

In addition to our six top ideas, we also wanted to recognize ProjectEd and Tuition Heroes for their contributions to the Higher Ed Challenge. These two teams have been amazing collaborators who have been incorporating community feedback to develop their ideas in a human-centered way. We hope to see them continue to develop after the Higher Ed Challenge.

What’s Next?

In the upcoming months, we'll offer support to these ideas with help from our challenge sponsor UBS. A few ideas will be invited to present at a convening event in New York at the UBS office. Each idea is unique in its content and stage of development. We'll do our best to identify areas of need that we can help address.

Share Your Impact Story

We hope that everyone who contributed to this challenge will continue to collaborate, refine and work at bringing your ideas to life. Help us celebrate your collective impact by sharing your story in the upcoming Impact phase. The Impact Phase is a space where the OpenIDEO community can share updates on how our projects are progressing beyond the challenge. Use this template to guide your thinking. We hope to see how you will continue to activate the community around you and help our team promote your idea across our networks.  

Congratulations to our Top Ideas and thanks to our entire community for joining the collaborative effort to make college more accessible.We can’t wait to see all ideas from this challenge evolve into powerful impact!

9.8k 20
Higher Ed Challenge


Join the conversation:

Photo of Neena Thomas

Fantastic ideas. Really like to appreciate it. It is an inspirational post and i am very happy to be a part of it. I liked to research about these ideas and hope research paper writing service reviews help to complete the task.

View all comments