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Students use volunteer hours as a currency to pay tuition.

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

The target audience for is anyone who is involved in higher education. It reimagines the cost of college because it doesn't put anyone at a disadvantage because of money.

What if students could volunteer their time and skills in order to pay for their college tuition? That way no student would be put at a disadvantage because of money. Everyone would get the same opportunity to get a college education regardless of their financial status. 

There should be a program in which students could volunteer and do community service to pay for their tuition. They could go to homeless shelters, elderly homes, food drives, blood drives, or any other event that works with volunteers. They would log their hours and those hours would then turn to a sort of currency which the student could use to pya for their tuition. Any student could take part in this program and it would benefit most college students. Along with benefiting the student it would also be simultaneously benefiting the community. 

Another thought that comes from this program is in a specific type of volunteering program; a tutoring program for younger students in grade school. The college students could tutor younger students in order to gain their hours. This way they would be using the education they are getting to help other student's educations. 

This program would insure that no student has to decide not to get a college education because they can't afford it. It insures that students don't graduate with a debt that basically sets them up to fail. With this program every student as the same chance of getting a college education and the student will have the same opportunities to succeed in their lives. 

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

Take a survey and interview people on what they think of the idea and if they would be willing to participate in it.

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

Input on how the idea works, or doesn't work, how to fix it, anything that betters the idea.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An Individual

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

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Anumit Sasidharan

This is a great idea in theory and I like how it helps the community. I'm concerned about the university's point of view though. What incentive do they have to accept this "volunteer hours" currency?

Photo of Sasha Stewart

Hi Mohsin, thank you for your contribution, it seems like a brilliant idea! There is some much could be built in this space!!! Nonprofits are in desperate need for help and students could grow their skills, gain experience and connect with new employment opportunities while volunteering. This is great!!

How do you see you could apply the idea in your area, or your locality?

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great share Mohsin! Check out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program from the Research phase:

Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check out this example: where a few scenarios were created to explain the idea in a human-centered way.