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EduPass | Litewaive - Gateway college coursework platform (Updated Jan. 24)

Litewaive is an online platform of stepping stone "lite undergrad courses" that earn you tuition "waivers."

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

Litewaive helps prospective first-generation college students make sense out of the college decision, and decrease tuition expenses by 25%.



The Idea

Litewaive aims to increase first-generation college student enrollment and success by:

  1. Making sense out of the college investment.
  2. Decreasing the size of the investment.

Litewaive does this by helping prospective first-generation students gain the first-hand knowledge required to understand college, and a means to decrease net tuition expense by 25%.


The college affordability problem is not solely financial. For students, the true cost of college can be seen as a combination of investments which include:

  1. Time
  2. Money

For many prospective first-generation college students, both the time and financial commitments associated with college are unknown quantities. The irrational nature of decision making with unknown quantities naturally sees a high degree of withdrawal—prospective college students becoming non-participants.

----> Solutions won't scale unless time and money investments are known quantities.

How Litewaive Solves The Problem

Litewaive collaborates with colleges and universities around the country to create a wide selection of online classes so students can pick and choose what they want to try out. Every class taken earns college transfer credit, up to 25% of undergraduate degree requirements.

  1. Time
    1. Student: "I'm not sure if I want to sign up for 4 more years of school."
    2. Litewaive: "Try before you buy."
  2. Money
    1. Student: "College is too expensive."
    2. Litewaive: "The more you try, the cheaper college will be—up to 25% less."

The 3 Levers of First-Generation Student Participation

By helping prospective first-generation students "try before you buy," understand cash & debt commitments, and significantly lower net tuition cost, time and money become known quantities. This will increase prospective student participation and success.


The Pain & Solution Explained Further:

"College is a "high dive through a tiny hole, into a pool I'm not really sure about in the first place."

Challenge Reframe: 

  1. How might we:
    1. Lower the diving board?
    2. Make the hole bigger?

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Here's How Litewaive Works:

A public + private partnership in which Litewaive collaborates with colleges and universities around the country, to create a wide selection of classes so students can pick and choose what they want to try out:

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Litewaive would essentially layer a special instructor component on top of the institution's self-study college content. This would convert it into for-credit coursework, but keep the experience low-stress, and cost less than what colleges and universities can offer.

2)    Through collaboration with colleges and universities, Litewaive certifies coursework students complete.

3)    Through Litewaive, high school juniors, seniors, and recent grads can earn up to a year of general education transfer credits. The goal would be to decrease net tuition costs by 25%. 

4)    Here's the end goal for students: increase confidence; foot in the door academically; and 25% decrease in net tuition costs.

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


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

Help with ideating and prototyping; feedback; comments.

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 Joanna Spoth

Hi Dave! I'm loving the updates and the potential for this idea to radically change the way the cost of college is viewed, especially for juniors and seniors in high school. Do you have an idea of next steps you're aiming to take in the next week? We'd love to support you however we can!

Photo of Dave Zinsman

Thanks, Joanna! Since we're so close to the end of the challenge, the next step is to quickly interview some potential early adopters. That will be posted before tweaking the idea and then posting a lo-fi prototype. The results of that will be posted before putting up a hi-fi prototype—that all should be knocked  out by Sunday. 

Photo of Shane Zhao

Super exciting Dave! Thanks for jumping onboard. We're looking forward to seeing the next updates:T

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