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Free Freshmen Year!!

Offer free first year in college where students take core classes and learn about how to pay/save for college. no major related classes.

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

The target audience would be public school students who are entering college. These students do not know a lot about what they want to major in and they do not really know how much it costs to pay for the classes.

The concept of college is both a success and a challenge. For majority, the challenge is not only attaining good grades but paying for college. Since grade school, college is portrayed college as something is supposed to happen or the current "American Dream". However, for many families it is not a reality. There lies a serious issue of paying for college in student loans. 

College can be affordable for many low-income students, they just need to be able to find the necessary information to make smart financial decisions. We as a group can help with this.

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

Solution: Offer freshmen year free to all students. The incoming freshmen every year are students who, most of the time, do not know their major, and are not aware of the realities of college, such as how much it really costs. Therefore, by offering free first year to students, students could finish their core classes that are not related to their major and are also given opportunities to learn about different majors.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

The skills that would be of most guidance is planning mandatory organizations that freshmen students could join which teaches them about financial breakdown of college costs as well as introduction to different majors. Moving from high school to college, there is really not a strong support system that helps students understand what they want, with the community in place, freshmen students can be guided in the right direction.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

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

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shane Zhao

Saloni, interesting thought-starter! Have you considered how the cost of freshman year can be subsized by colleges? i.e. how might free-freshman year make financial sense for colleges without loosing revenue? What incentives might there be for colleges to implement this?

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