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Mutually Beneficial Costing

Employers sponsor the cost of college for low income students in exchange for tax compensation and the opportunity to employee the student.

Photo of Cristin
8 4

Written by

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

Target audience is low income students seeking a degree that will specifically train and align them with a job or career path upon graduation.

It is important to recognize the value of a college degree in regards to a pay check means a candidate has undergone extensive training-- in thought development or trade. A college degree has value because a student spends years executing exercises which teach them to think or solve problems in a specific light. This solution assumes a few things: 

  1.  Targeting lower income students
  2.  Cost of college has not diminished
  3. Student is pursuing a major/field of study that directly correlates with a job/career


The concept is simple. Corporations-- Advertising, Business, Engineering, Communications, Medical field etc. pair with students. The corporations will sponsor the undergraduate education of the student in exchange for the student completing a degree in the respective field. In exchange, the student would be equipped to contribute to the value of the firm after their graduation. The corporation would additionally receive the tuition equivalent tax break. 

This lends itself The idea is that the company is investing in society and higher education rather than the government incurring student debt. This would have potential to catch fire as corporations continue to move towards social responsibility.

This would be a realistic way to mitigate the cost of college for low income students. It is important to acknowledge that this is exclusive to certain majors that lend themselves to a specific skill set that is in turn generates a competitive advantage for the student, making them a competitive candidate. 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Interview local businesses that partner with my University and receive feedback. Would they participate in such a program, or implement a program in their company? What kind of incentives would be necessary?

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

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

  • No

Evaluation results

9 evaluations so far

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

Yes! - 44.4%

To a degree - 33.3%

Not that I can tell - 22.2%

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

Yes! - 44.4%

It's attempting to - 44.4%

Not that I can tell - 11.1%

3. How excited are you about this idea?

I'm so excited I just can't hide it! - 0%

I'm pretty neutral in my excitement level - 100%

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

8 comments

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Comment
Photo of Gregory Carpenter
Team

Congratulations on making it to the refinement phase! Two thoughts come to mind. 1) How would an employer be protected against an investment where a student either throws away the opportunity or where the student finds they no longer have interest in the field of study? 2) Is there a possibility that the employer might use the student to work on projects throughout their course of study similar to internship projects? It seems that if an employer is making the investment they may want to see an earlier return on investment than the traditional 4-year degree may offer. This may be especially true in organizations who adhere to 3-year strategic plans. However, if a student is studying and performing as an intern, there may be a benefit for the employer even if the student doesn't successfully complete the field of study. A student may excel in business projects but not in the classroom; as an employer this is where I would see the biggest value of investing or sponsoring a student.

Photo of Cristin
Team

Thanks for your thoughts Gregory! 1) It would be necessary to protect the employer. Perhaps some sort of delayed incentive for the student or perhaps a collateral the student set in place they would get in return upon their successful completion of the employer-college program. This gets sticky because the root problem is providing low cost education, but I agree with the necessity. Perhaps maintenance of a certain GPA and semester check ins regarding performance and interest. This way, if say a student loses interest their 3rd year, the student has an opportunity to change their path, but the company has the right to no longer fund tuition. If you have a particular idea in mind it would be very helpful! 2) I think the employer would benefit from utilizing students either in person or remotely to work between 10-20 hours on a project for the corporation. This would allow students to experience that company's culture and operations first hand while providing value to the corporation. I have worked with multiple companies throughout my university education by means of group projects and it has been one of the biggest value adds to my education. 

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

loving this exchange of thoughts! Cristin, perhaps a lightweight next step would be to hop on the phone with your previous employers and chat with them about what a more formal collaboration with a university could look like. It could be a good way to connect with their HR, gather feedback about your idea, and get a little taste of what 'pitching' your idea might look like!

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

loving this exchange of thoughts! Cristin, perhaps a lightweight next step would be to hop on the phone with your previous employers and chat with them about what a more formal collaboration with a university could look like. It could be a good way to connect with their HR, gather feedback about your idea, and get a little taste of what 'pitching' your idea might look like!

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