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Build Upon: Service Through Education

Enriching the Lives of Students / Bolstering Local Economies / Creating Meaningful, Lasting Value

Photo of David Chin
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

WHO? Students: Low-income students interested in flexing and building their talents through real-world, professional opportunities, while earning compensation to help pay for their education. Higher Ed: Universities and Colleges interested in fostering valuable business partnerships while elevating their student success rates beyond graduation. Businesses: Local businesses interested in access to a pool of sought after students to perform relevant duties with competitive compensation.


'SOLUTION' is a tiered system offering the flexibility of a 'Task Rabbit' approach with the value and experience of a work/study program. The tiered structure offers a progression in the relevance of work experience & duties, paced out based on the comfort of each student - they can choose to keep a full load of tasks or maintain a lesser load, whatever they are able to handle. Each tier has a specific amount of tasks that must be completed before the student can progress to the next tier. As students advance in their prospective college program, they advance through the 'SOLUTION' program, with the final tier being placement to a job in a relevant field.


  • Businesses qualify to be a 'SOLUTION' partner with a college based on aligned interests of school programs and company identity
  • Businesses list 'tasks' on the platform which they need to be completed
  • Students in the 'SOLUTION' program pick and choose which 'tasks' they would like to complete
  • Students perform the 'tasks' and get compensated by the businesses with a traditional paycheck (or by having a relative percentage of their tuition bills lowered)
  • Students accumulate 'credits' based on the amount of tasks they complete
  • Students advance to the next tier of the program by accumulating the required amount of 'credits'
  • Upon completion of the 'SOLUTION' program and graduation from school, students are placed in available jobs provided by partner businesses

How Do The Tiers Work?

Upon entering the 'SOLUTION' program, all students begin in the same place, at the bottom tier. The intensity and relevance of tasks to the student's college program increase as they progress through the tiers, with the bottom tier offering 'remedial' tasks, middle tier 'moderate' tasks, and top tier 'elite' tasks. For this explanation, we will say each tier requires 100 tasks to complete before advancing to the next tier. Some students may choose to take on a heavier workload than others, thus resulting in a faster progression through the program.

Elite Tier - (Sample Values)

  • Focused career preparation
  • Relevant tasks to student focus
  • More intensive
  • Higher commitment
  • Longer term tasks
  • Higher compensation
  • More intimate professional relationships
  • Access to more prestigious businesses


Value for Colleges/Universities

  • Ongoing partnerships with businesses
  • Attract students due to value of 'SOLUTION' program
  • Positive social impact
  • Bolster local community and economy
  • Bolster institution reputation
  • Elevate post-graduation student success
  • Potentially lessen need to distribute scholarship money, i.e. if students are paying their own way via 'SOLUTION' they don't require additional scholarships, school saves money long-term (far out thinking, not sure if reasonable assumption)

Value for Businesses

  • Ongoing partnerships with colleges/universities
  • Access to pool of sought after students
  • Investment in human capital, build relationships with students = future value for business
  • Labor performed at reduced cost
  • Don't have to delegate 'remedial' tasks to full-time employees
  • Add value to local economy and community
  • Work intimately and foster professional relationships with sought-after students
  • Recruit career-minded students who are familiar and comfortable in their specific working environments

Value for Students

  • Real world experience
  • Relationships with businesses
  • Tasks build towards end goal/career
  • Lessen education costs
  • Pick/choose tasks to accommodate schedule and school/life balance
  • Less overwhelming than committing to full-time job
  • Sense of pride/accomplishment by earning their own way
  • Lasting intrinsic values
  • Technical skills/learning
  • Seamless transition into professional atmosphere of partner businesses upon graduation


1) 'SOLUTION' Program Not Only For Low-Income Students?

'SOLUTION' is a multifaceted career path program that creates value beyond the end goal of career placement - and everyone deserves an equal opportunity to enrich their lives.

  • Students who are not considered low income can participate in the program
  • They will divert their compensation earned to a 'fund pool'
  • 'Fund pool' is equally distributed to low-income program participants
  • This does far more than simply divert funds, it facilitates elevated values such as empathy, mutual respect, humility, etc.

Questions for 1:

  • Does the 'fund pool' distribution need to be weighted relative to tier level?
  • Can 'fund pool' be distributed based on sheer volume of tasks completed?
  • To not take away the tasks for low-income students, should non-low income participants only have access to 'leftover' tasks?

            *No, because if the purpose of 'SOLUTION' is to lessen costs of         education, diverted funds still achieve this.

2) User Journey Map

3) Assumption Testing/Survey

*Survey Results As Of 1/26/16

Image title

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • Yes

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Does this idea make college more accessible, especially for low income students in the U.S.?

Yes! - 0%

To a degree - 100%

Not that I can tell - 0%

2. Does this idea think beyond current cost structures of college and activate new sectors or partners?

Yes! - 66.7%

It's attempting to - 33.3%

Not that I can tell - 0%

3. How excited are you about this idea?

I'm so excited I just can't hide it! - 100%

I'm pretty neutral in my excitement level - 0%

I don't feel very excited about this idea. - 0%

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Attachments (3)

Survey Results.jpg

Survey results as of 1/26/16


Visual of tier progression

Journey Map.png

Student journey map

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Jim Rosenberg


Just wanted to say, I think a system like this could be a great addition to the college educational experience. I know a lot of students struggle to win internships and find the time for them. If students could proactively grab tasks for companies and build a portfolio of real work it would help them learn, help them understand the careers they are considering, and set them up well for interviews when they graduate. You could imagine professors reviewing available tasks before a course starts and selecting a set that can be used for class projects.  Today colleges and career centers work to create these kind of opportunities but a "marketplace" like this could make for a richer solution. I don't know what the potential is for impact on college cost and access, but it seems like a great idea for helping students get the most from their investment in college.