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Higher Ed Challenge – Community Voices October 30, 2015

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Over the course of the Higher Ed Challenge, we'll be featuring Q&As with OpenIDEO members who have been making significant contributions to our community. This week, let’s take a look at what’s been inspiring Izabela Correa and Katerina Bohle Carbonell in the Research Phase.


Izabela Correa is a master’s student in Management of Technology at New York University. Since the beginning of the Research phase, Izabela and the NYU Design for America team have been making amazing contributions to the Higher Ed Challenge. We're excited to have them onboard!


Katerina Bohle Carbonell is a doctoral candidate at Maastrich University in the Netherlands where she is conducting research on information sharing in teams. We've really appreciated the insightful provocations Katerina has made around what's driving the cost of colleges in the U.S.



What brought you to the Higher Ed Challenge?

Izabela: As an international student, the US educational system has always intrigued me. The high costs of American Universities make education a privilege instead of a right, as it should be. My own experience has showed me the value and importance of education and I believe every person who wants to graduate with a college degree should have this opportunity. This challenge is an amazing opportunity to start making changes to create a world where this is possible.


Katerina: My frustration with universities. I have experienced the higher ed system in several countries, and of course none is perfect. I'm currently doing research with Professor Amber Dailey-Hebert on other ways to offer an education. My experience with the US system and the research I'm involved in has just brought it home to me how many options exists for students to get the education they need to do the job they want to do. Universities are just one option.


What are some compelling insights you've gained from the research so far?

Katerina: In the US people put a monetary value on education. It's a completely different mindset than I'm familiar with from the Netherlands. The solution to reduce the costs of higher education will rely on technology and a shifting of the costs to other parties (e.g. community, employers). But the two most sticky contributions are about informing high school graduates about how they can prepare themselves for a job - through higher education or other means; and how they can get financial aid and the increase in building costs and administrative staff that have pushed the cost of studying up.


Izabela: Reading the research contributions so far, it seems to me that the problem is closely related to people’s perception. Many students, parents and employees link a good education to an expensive education. It has also been great to get know and learn more about alternative and successful systems, such as the College of Ozarks and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.



In the upcoming weeks, we would love to have you join Izabela, Katerina and the rest of the OpenIDEO community in the Higher Ed Challenge!



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