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Summary of Research based on Crowd Sourced Posts in OpenIDEO

A clearer framework to see what's the problem of affordability, how to break it down and what are the existing/potential solutions

Photo of Xiaofan Liang
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This a a summary of the research posts I read in the OpenIDEO. 

Some links are disabled when I copied it here. There's a pdf attached at the end of article where you can find all abled links. 


What is the problem?

College is not hardly affordable for both middle class, lower income population and minorities (such as black population and immigrants)

Challenges: Is this the right problem or right question to ask?

“Perhaps the issue with education is not the cost, but the value it delivered" 

Maybe to lower the cost, we have to first innovates the hiring system that based on degree and grades.

BREAK IT DOWN - Agents, Sub-problems, Causes and Constraints in the system

Causes of high cost

highly-paid administrators (not faculty); Facility maintenance; Demand is too high; Subsidy is shrinking

"Schools end up spending a lot on recreational facilities, fancier buildings; schools are having to compete with the private sector over talented professors; Information regarding quality of colleges and a student's fit within can be extremely hard to obtain; sticker price - a more expensive school must mean that the quality of education is better." 

Communication of cost is not transparent

Wrong decisions are costly -  lack of support system for college students to making right decisions?

  • Uncertainty & Indecision - Not knowing what path will lead to the best return could lead to the wrong decision or no decision at all.

Constraints of lowering the cost

lower the cost will devalue the education?

"Money is not the only thing keeping first-generation students from seeking degrees. Culture plays a role as well."

If you don't go to college or do it free online, you will lose the value of networking with awesome people.


How to Lower the Bar (cost) in Existing System

Go Global: Cheaper and better education in other countries

Government Subsidy, company sponsorship and increased grants

More taxes

Other costs

Online Education cuts off the cost of physical facilities (e.x. campus)

Break education into pieces that are more flexible to location and time constraints

Mixture of online and offline: mitigate the effect of cost and the lack of community

How to Help People Reach the Bar (cost) in Existing System

Make financial information and resource necessary to find an affordable path available to students

Stratified the system and make vocational education more accessible to low income students

  • Organizational Support - How companies can train and provide vocational education to students from low income communities to train?

How to Shift the Cost in Existing System or Make it more Efficient

Community college saves you money

Learn the basics on your own and use colleges as add-ons

Your peers pay for you as an investment

  • Profit with purpose - peer to peer marketplace to fund education - A unique model where you invest in another's education for a % of future earnings

On-demand school - drop in when there’re spots to learn

Break down education into selectable pieces

Train people with skills that employers actually want

Industries pay for the education

Reinvent Higher Education

While we are trying to lower the cost from all aspects in current institutions, we can try a different path: by keeping the low-cost option in mind, we should focus on how to reinvent the concept of higher education. What should education be like?

I only selected a few articles because a lot of them covered the same topic. If you think there’s an aspect that I didn’t touch on in this article or there’s a great contribution I missed, please comment below and I will add them in. Hope this will provide a clearer picture of the problem before we go into the ideation phrase. Thanks everyone for contributing the sources!

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Writing this is so time consuming and the format box is so frustrating... I have to reorganize everything I wrote again in the text box when I copied it from Googledoc. Next time if anyone wants to write long stories, avoid to use indent or formatting tricks before you paste it in the text box.

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Photo of Nathan Lucy

Awesome post, Xiaofan! But I'm hitting several broken links.

Photo of Xiaofan Liang

Which are broken? I am going to fix them.

Photo of Nathan Lucy

Most of them, honestly, starting with the first one. A few are working like Baumal cost disease.

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