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1Gen2Fund-1st Generation College Student Crowdfunding & Support (2/3 Survey) Please Help Us! bit.ly/1mWU4YC Take Survey

A college-based crowdsharing scholarship platform that allows 1st generation students a place to ask for support for 4 year college degrees.

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

There are 3 types of users of the SaaS platform: the 1st generation student (the seeker), the donor/alumni/investor (the giver) and the college administrator (the connector) each one has a problems with the current system. This platform allows for the seeker, giver and connector to create relationships that will increase success of 1st generation students within 4 year colleges.

How 1Gen2Fund Works

1Gen2Fund to is a SaaS platform that would provide a digital place where 1st generation students (The Seeker) can ask for financial help, receive e-coaching, and resources so they can be successfully complete a 4 year college degree.   The Givers--Alumni, Current Students, Individuals, and Corporations can either be recommended or browse for the 1st generation student that they would have a "connection with" and donate directly to seeking funding and direct donate to a student with whom they “connect with”. There are type prototypes that are being presented one with a search function the other with a recommendation matching design. 

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Prototype Screen Shots Search
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Problems 1Gen2Fund Address

The 4.4 million 1st generation students (32% of all 4 year college students) have a hard time finding the financial resources and navigating the current system higher education system. 76 percent of these students come from families that are considered low income not allowing for financial support from their families. Further, 1st Generation students don’t understand the traditions and culture of a higher education institution since their families, family friends, and peers don’t not have any background experience with being a in college. The students once reaching college feel isolated and social outcast in this new and unfamiliar environment.

The 1st Generation student is important to 4 year colleges and institutions. They represent a significant population size of incoming students, but they represent some major challenges for the institution with high dropout rate (60%), disproportionately minority, 1/3 are not of traditional student age (18-24), and enroll part-time. In addition, 1st generation students have a higher student loan default rate of 11% compared to 5% of non-first generation students. Higher Education institutions are often affected by 1st generation students that attend because their bond rating can increase and if default rates are too high they could lose their accreditation.

For higher education institutions, the health of the institution is dependent of donations from alumni, individuals, foundations and corporations. They need these additional resources for capital improvements and enhancement programs that increase the institutions probability of survival. However, these donation to the institutions become harder and harder to receive since often alumni, individuals, foundations, and corporations what to have a personal connection to where the funds are being allocated, while wanting the institutions to have impact and accountability to where the funds are allocated.

Solving Problems with 1Gen2Fund

Students benefit from this because they have the opportunity to have college paid for with a direct route to donors versus competing for individual scholarships. Also, the student’s involvement and dedication to the school increases allowing for more commitment and less isolation. Alumni and donors can develop a personalized relationship with current students, giving a higher degree of donation satisfaction that demonstrates impact investing. Colleges benefit by allowing increase recruitment, retention, and alumni/donor involvement. Finally, the strong student/alumni connections resulting from such a platform will naturally increase the success rate of students, whom can also garner career from outside sources.

The student would need to meet criteria in order to be eligible for the platform, e.g. be a first generation student, have a certain GPA, special talents, etc... Students would make videos that talked about their passion, goals, background,etc... to provide potential donors a profile of the student. Students that have been accepted to the school but have not signed a commitment letter can post, helping students raise funds without loans before coming to the school. Talented students would have an opportunity to connect with the school and feel that there are people that support their success. There can be a real bond that forms between student, school, and alumni/donor.

Students can receive up to the maximum school financial aid budget for attending that particular school, minus any other free aid they are eligible (Pell grant and outside scholarship funds). With the platform limited to 1st Generation students it allows for a diverse body of students to have access to college. Once the platform is in existence for 3-5 years, those that benefited from raising school donation funds on the platform will likes “give back” by donations to current students.

Stakeholders--The Seeker, Giver, and Connector

Each of the stakeholders have different pain points, issues, and motivations,  with the current system. 1Gen2Fund utilizes cluster segmentation to address the needs of each of these stakeholders to create interconnections and synergies that can solve each one of their pain points and problems allowing for them to be motivated to action. We have taken a deep look at each one the stakeholder from a personalized prospect to create to find the best solution that will address each one in an unique and viable manner. 

The Seeker (1st Generation Students)--I was a associate director of an financial aid 7 years, and in the process interviewed over 4000 college students and their families about financial aid and the issues they had at a very expensive propitiatory 4 year school. We developed persona's and evaluated demographics to create a hypothesis. We conducted 1to1 interviews with 1st Generation students about the platform. We spent time getting to know 1st Generation college students and looking at the issues that they were facing being the first one to attend college in their families. We developed a Seeker User Journey that allowed use to get a picture of how the user would interactive with the platform. The feedback we received indicated this would be a very positive resource for the students. 

The Seekers Journey

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The Giver (a person or entity that supports the giver)-- UPDATED 2/3/2016

Please Take Survey @ bit.ly/1mWU4YC

We wanted to learn more about all the possible users of 1Gen2Fund. We had identified several possible Givers in our ideation process they included: Alumni, current students, outside individuals, existing scholarship funds, and corporations. We wanted to narrow down the best and most likely factors of who would be most likely to donate on this platform. We have developed and conducted a survey about individual's donation habits and as of Updated 2/3/2016 we reached 28 people (survey results)-- please take a few moments to take this survey if you have not already-- bit.ly/1mWU4YC.  The feedback was informative and has given us some direction as to the next steps in the process.  We collected demographic information,  hypothesis, and assumptions about the Givers to give use a clear indication of how they were and the likelihood of donating. 

We developed user journey's on how both the alumni, current student, individuals and corporations would use the 1Gen2Fund platform. 

The Alumnus Giver

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The Corporation Giver

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The University (The Connector)

4 Year Higher Education Institutions


The 4 year higher education institutions systems are often seen as the enemy when talking about the high cost and access to higher education. 1Gen2Fund feels higher education is some we want to help just like we want to help the 1st Generation student. They act as the glue to provide connects between the seeker and giver and a major important step to the success 1st Generation students. We have developed a hypothesis and demographic about the higher education system and how best they can serve 1st Generation students. Included at this is looking at crowdfunding resources with in the higher education. are in the process of learning more about how we can create technological solution that will help 4 year higher education institutions be more successful. We have talked with an expert from University of Pennsylvania--Education Higher Education innovation program about the University needs to better serve them. Currently, we are creating a database of 4 year public and private non-profit educational institutions within 100 mile radius of San Francisco that gives us contacts in Student Services, Admissions, Financial Aid, Alumni and Development so we can conduct face-to-face interviews to develop surveys that can be widely distributed. 

(1/24) Early Interests --Path to implementation 

1Gen2Fund has started developing relationship with a Crowdsourcing White Labeling company that has been providing customized crowdfunding platforms for 4 years.  This has opened the door to new possibilities to ask for donations from a branding sponsorship from corporations and targeted donations. This would allow 1Gen2Fund to cut technology development time and change our time line to implementation. 

Road and Path to Implementation


Path2Pitch Progress {1/17}

Milestone 1--Founder's Biography PowerPoint Slide (see attachment)-- Learn about the team--Karen Sorensen, Dr. Mary Jean Koontz, Julia Rose West, and our 1st Generation intern Jamie Yang, a Junior at Gloucher College majoring in Business Management and Economics.

Milestone 2-- Pain Point and Hypothesis PowerPoint Slides (see attachments)- We took the time to identify each of our stakeholders--the seeker, connector, and givers- pain points we developed hypothesis to where they would use 1Gen2Fund. There was multiple givers identified in the process. 

Milestone 3-- Mary Jean has created a survey that we are planning to distribute through our personal connections and social media channels to survey possible users that we identified as givers. We feel this is the most important question to have answered right away, to determine if the our model is sustainable.  We have already did survey's with 1st Generation students and have started to contact college administrators to setup interviews to determine the value 1Gen2Fund would be for the college. 

Milestone 4-- We are in the process of organizing the feedback from our 1Gen2Fund seeker interviews. The connectors and givers are in process. 

Milestone 5-- We started developing persona's based on my work as a financial aid director. I worked with all aspects of the college from scholarships, admissions, career development, register, etc... this allowed for us to develop the user experiences based on my interactions with these stakeholders. 

Milestone 6-- We are currently in the middle of developing our prototypes for our seekers, connectors, and givers. 

Milestone 7-- 1Gen2Fund Business Canvas PowerPoint slide (see attachment)-- We started with our business plan canvas as a living document. It is a guide to how we see 1Gen2Fund progressing. 

Milestone 8-- We are exploring how we will develop the MVP and the technology we want to use to develop the SaaS product. We are using Bootstrap templates for some of user experiences design features to test if this application would be useful. I have started watching videos on working with Bootstrap, but this would be the first time for me to work with this coding platform. I have started developing the software architecture maps and looking at the database structures, which we included elements in our user experience maps. 

Milestone 9-- This will not full completed until we have better feedback on users.

Milestone 10--We have started gathering our documents utilizing PowerPoint, so when we are ready to make the pitch deck we will have slides created and easy to change. Pitch Deck's are very much living documents. 

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

(1/24) 1Gen2Fund-- Currently creating a database of 4 year higher education institutions 100 miles from San Francisco to start surveying and conduct face-2-face interviews with college administrators. Prototype testing with 1st Generation students and givers can start in March 2016.

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

We would love to talk to anyone that would like to work on this idea, the more the merrier! Please share your research with us through our Slack group https://1gen2fund.slack.com

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

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

  • Yes

Evaluation results

21 evaluations so far

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

Yes! - 57.1%

To a degree - 38.1%

Not that I can tell - 4.8%

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

Yes! - 57.1%

It's attempting to - 28.6%

Not that I can tell - 14.3%

3. How excited are you about this idea?

I'm so excited I just can't hide it! - 36.8%

I'm pretty neutral in my excitement level - 47.4%

I don't feel very excited about this idea. - 15.8%

View more

Attachments (7)

The_Seeker_Hypothesis_User_Demographics_Personas.pdf

This is milestone #5 for Path2Pitch

Milestone_1_Bios.pptx

Learn more about Karen Sorensen and Dr. Mary Jean Koontz by viewing PowerPoint presentation.

OpenIdeo_Giver_Survey_1-18.pdf

Current Survey Giver Donor Survey Results (summary in text)

Milestone_3_Seeker_Interviews_Summary.pdf

Seeker (1st Generation Student) Interviews

71 comments

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Congrats Karen, Mary Jean and Julia!  Great prototypes and visuals.  Excited for you, and to see impact from this idea!  
Tina 

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Thank you Tina--For your support. I hope we can use some of your awesome research to make 1Gen2Fund better. Karen

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Congratulations Karen and team. Looking forward to seeing this idea being prototyped.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Karen.
How is the project going? Are you continuing to build it?
Tina

Photo of Julan
Team

Try out this best online jobs for college students https://www.qdtricks.tech/online-part-time-jobs-for-students-without-investment/ and get he job.

Photo of Kara Adams
Team

Thanks for sharing!Crowdfunding has now become an effective and reliable way of raising funds that a lot of people who are in need are benefiting from it. You can also check http://www.plumfund.com/ and learn more about the benefits of crowdfunding.

Photo of Ashley van Edema
Team

Hi Karen, 
I think this is a wonderful idea! I've been a college student for approximately 12 years! (BA, MS and now I'm in a PhD program) and with every semester my student loan debt increases (as does my debt to income ratio- which is killing my credit- but that's a whole other problem!) What I love about your idea is that you are connecting people. As alum at the University where I got my BA and MS I have always been hesitant to give to a general fund. I think I would have been far more likely to donate if there was another person (who shares my broke college student experience) on the other end of the dollar. 

I also love your idea around building relationships with corporations. This is an incredible opportunity to network, build contacts and ideally secure leads to employment that will allow the student to pay back what debt they do accrue. 

I think it's fantastic that you are focused on first generation students, what I might suggest as you look towards the long term is to include individuals (like myself) who are not necessarily first generation, but did not have financial support from family. My struggle has been that I have worked in human services for my whole career, which has limited earning potential. This may also create a stream of potential collaborations for those with shared interests outside of academia (volunteerism, causes etc.). 

I wish you lots of luck and hope that when I'm in a position to help another student that your platform will be up and running!

Best, 
Ashley 

Photo of jaymes hines
Team

Congratulations Karen, Mary Jean and team!

Photo of Shari Cheves
Team

Congratulations! Your concept reminds me of DonorsChoose.org (K-12) - a great model for connecting individual donors to education with special topics in mind. I imagine that givers can select 1Gen2Fund seekers by their area of interest/expertise/background just as DonorsChoose allows donors to select projects by subject. I can see how our EdCreds concept can help 1Gen2Fund seekers advertise their history of extracurricular educational activities to potential givers. EdCreds can also help 1Gen2Fund seekers find colleges with more supporting givers – a criteria that can be part of the EdCreds college guidance process. Exciting!

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Shari--Great to connect with you. Based on our research, givers consider extra-curricular activities in their donation decision. I hope we can meet in NYC to talk more about how we can work together. Its all so exciting! Karen

Photo of V. V. Kumar
Team

Great Idea; very well developed. Congrats to Karen & team. Have you considered a student loan feature where Maria is able to get a loan thru the platform for any gap that exists after the givers have given? If you are concerned about tech complexity, you could pipe the loan requests out to Prosper or Lending Club (the two major P2P lending venues)

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi VV-- Thank you for your feedback! We have not looked at a loan program yet. For US citizens, there is plenty of low interest loans but for International student this is a huge problem. We will keep an eye on this more as time goes by and we see what type of students are signing up for this. Thank you for your support, we really appreciate the support.  Karen

Photo of Lauren Brown
Team

Congratulations Karen Sorensen , Mary Jean Koontz , and Julia Rose West ! Such a tremendous amount of hard work culminating in an exciting idea. Way to go!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on your winning idea Karen and team! We've been blown away by the level of collaboration you've shown in developing this idea since the beginning of the Refinement Phase. What an amazing journey it has been. Looking ahead to the next step, we would love for you to share your story in the upcoming Higher Ed Impact Phase. The Impact Phase is a space where the OpenIDEO community can share updates on how our projects are progressing beyond the challenge. For reference, here's a template for writing an Impact phase story: http://ideo.pn/1U9DrSN Well done team!

Photo of Nicolò Weiss
Team

Hi Karen,
I really like the idea and your focus on the students. Few humble thoughts from me after only 30min of reading, so forgive me if I say something trivial/ silly:
- I am absolutely sure that you can convince students to join your platform if it went online today
- How you convince the "giver" is to me your main design challenge
- The connectors will come spontaneously if the first two actors will join

re corporate givers:
- How can you convince an HR manager to use cash today to invest in the education of a person who will be job-ready in four years? That HR person will not be around in four years.
- To cope with that, have you thought setting up "category funds" (eg computer science funds) where companies contribute to create a larger investment?
- Have you thought working with foundations or not-so-traditional-large-corporates or foundations of large corporates?  
- What if you have convinced the HR manager, how do you turn him/her into an evangelist?

Re individual givers:
- how do you make sure he keeps track of the progress of the student? How do they keep in touch? This feels a lot like a long-distance adoption. Have you considered if this action has the equivalent meaning to the giver and it makes any difference?
- targeting first gen students is great; from my own experience (I am biased here), the major hurdle is for the young student to take the application seriously and manage all conflicting inputs (go to work vs study); will some of the mentoring be available to candidates whilst they consider doing the application (even collectively). This may increase the amount of people who will go with all their hearts into college.
All the best,
nico

Photo of Mary Jean Koontz
Team

Thanks Nico, What kind of work do you do?  Sounds like you have good insight; we are working on customer discovery in the "giver area"; it is a bit like a long distance adoption.....I sponsored a young boy in Vietnam some 20 years ago when I met him at age 4; he is now a close friend and like family and I have visited him 5 times in Hanoi....so such a relationship can easily form among alumni and 1st generation students.    We are conducting a survey of the givers to learn their perspective and help us iterate as we design; here is the URL; please take our survey and help us spread the URL   :

https://qtrial2011.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0PNZ8qhA00wFm1n

Thank you, Mary Jean

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hello Nico--
Thank you so much for your feedback! We have came to the same conclusion regarding the students-- they love this platform and the BIG question is will "The Givers" donate.  We actually created a survey to address these important questions. Please take a moment to complete the survey
https://qtrial2011.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0PNZ8qhA00wFm1n
and if you could help us spread the word to take the survey, it is about 5 minutes, that would be awesome! We do know that Middlebury College, they had a crowdsourcing platform for financing student projects through Alumni and it looks like all the projects got financed, but we are unsure about tuition. 
Here are some answers to your questions:
Corporate Givers--
--Since the team lives in Silicon Valley area and surrounded by technology companies that are getting hammered by the lack of diversity within their organization, Tech Companies HR departments are looking for anyway possible to give the appearance that they are actively seeking diverse talent and they have lots of money to spend on these programs. By supporting 1st Generation students, technology companies can show that they are supporting diverse talent.  With that said, we live in a digital bubble, not sure how important an issue this is for other industries--I know this was an issue in finance. But the thought is--if one falls the rest will follow.  For other industries, we need to do more research to determine their pain point or if they have the same pain.  Yes, we will be setting up a category based structure were you can search by types of talent they are looking for by filters.
Foundations-- Yes we have put a lot of thought into foundations, one of the benefits of the Alumni giving is that foundations often match or look to the giving of Alumni. We feel this group is really important feature for Universities. Another area we have been looking at is in current scholarships. Right now scholarships have a lot of administration cost to find, select, and manage beneficiaries for their scholarship programs, and often are limited to just a handful of candidates. If we can create a type of "common application" they will increase the number and quality of candidates and reduce their administration costs.
Individual Givers-- The student profile page will have a way for the giver to track the progress of the student. It will be up to the college to set any perimeters, they see fit for students that are above sophomore level like X amount of GPA. The giver and student communicate through a text/email service that doesn't reveal their contact information.
1st Generation Students-- We total agree that mentoring is important, and have already an established mentoring platform developed. However, when we looked at the first big no "I cannot go to college--it is too expensive!" it is rare to have a student say "I cannot go to college because I don't have a mentor" so we wanted to address this first "no" in our development schedule. We know that a mentor would help relieve the barriers, social, and isolation issues and really important to the success of the student, but when we looked at the technological integration to get started, this feature would be very difficult from a development stand point. The platform has a lot of moving parts already. But, because we have some important pieces in place for this already, this would be part of the 2nd wave of development. With how we have it set up, the best way for us to get information to the 1st Generation student is to provide resources (articles, videos, stories and partner resources) about being a college student through our email and texting platform.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment about 1Gen2Fund, we are in the sponge phase-- any questions and feedback makes the platform stronger--- Best--Karen

Photo of Darryl
Team

I hate taking a pessimistic view as I am an optimist at heart. The same silicon valley companies you reference for internships also work with schools from across the globe. No where is the acceptance and importance of diversity more significant than Silicon Valley but 1stgen will not be priority #1; it will be students who are the most promising to them. I do agree with you about the mentoring not being the reason individuals don't go to college. They have multiple mentors for the most part; family, friends and schools. I would just revisit your working assumptions that this is a huge problem-especially in CA.

Photo of Nicolò Weiss
Team

Hi Mary Jean,
I have just filled in your survey - I hope you get many responses with thoughtful insights.

I understand what you mean, my mom has been always keen on adoption and I was lucky enough to be given the gift of an adopted brother from Chile when I was four and other three long-distance adopted brothers and sisters...  Going back to the individual giver, I see similarities with long term adoption but also a big difference, the medium of interaction in the case of 1st gen students will be internet/video/ in person; with long-distance is instead still pen/ picture/ in person (maybe). There is an adoption gap in my view if the giver doesn't have mental flexibility.

On the work side, until last month I was working for Vodafone (a large European telco), that is why I wrote all the questions about corporate givers, the first one is a real bottlenecks to me. That is because in large corporates the decision maker wants to shine with his/her boss and the reward here will arrive too late.

Photo of Nicolò Weiss
Team

Hi Karen,
thanks for the detailed answers and sorry for writing back with such a big delay.
I didnt' know about http://middstart.middlebury.edu/; it is good that somebody is already doing it and that it works, it is a proof point :-)

Re diversity
1) it is a buzz word, it looks good on brochures and it starts to be taken seriously (eg my ex-director had a target, and was also paid bonus, according to the number of women at middle-manager level). As you said it may start small, but if it catches on, it will be big if taken really seriously
2) it can work when the corporate giver has got plenty of money and resources (internet, banking, oil, telco); in other industries I think no matter the color, age, gender, the skills are what drives the "hiring decision". --> The problem is that skills are a derivative of how the person is raised, the family and education it gets so, not sure this is the forum for this debate ;-)
3) foundations are great - get for example Melinda and Bill Gates foundation in, the others (including corporates) will follow; I would spend a lot of time in this area!
4) genial the idea of allowing communication only via the platform - genious!

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Hi Karen! Really impressive to see all the progress you've made over the weekend. Typically a high percentage of more traditional crowdfunding support comes from personal networks and connections. We love that 1Gen2Fund has a focus on first generation students. Have you thought about how 1Gen2Fund might help students get their campaigns in front of people in addition to their family and friends? We like the corporate element of your idea but it might take a bit of time to develop. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Joanna-- I agree the team really came through this weekend and did an awesome job! The corporate idea was sparked by coming across so technology that I was unaware until just last week. There needs to be more time formulating this concept. But, I am excited for its potential.

I have been mulling over how to draw people to the 1Gen2Fund website so more student can get discovered by people other than friends and family.  Some ideas, a type of "week we code" for campaign, that would be supported by TV advertising.  I feel that television ads is the best way to reach a diverse donation pool and promote 1Gen2Fund a place to find talent worthy students that need support.  The ad would focus on the an emotional appeal. It would be awesome if they could air during college sports or events, but depending on the budget more likely will be airing at odd times. There is purchasing targeted social media ads--Facebook for sure, since I know the demographic user numbers are good and one of the best ways to reach them.  Looking for an avenue that we could have the student's to be involved, but nothing has really been strong on this.  Really open to ideating more on the PR and marketing strategy piece of how to promote 1Gen2Fund and draw traffic to the site besides traditional avenues.

Would love feedback, Thanks K

Photo of Darryl
Team

Karen, I also responded to Erik about your idea. A quick google search uncovered 3.4m hits for organizations providing 1stGen college support. Thanks for sharing the article about Ricky. Very insightful read but while it is the story of a 1stGen student, to me, it is more the story of an immigrant-then 1stGen. I don't think you intend to limit this to immigrants so how will you vet students? Will they get to attest or will the school provide you information? Where will your operating costs come from as you're just a fiscal agent for the money? I read the student interviews with great interest but did not note any interviews with college advisors who are at the front line of this issue? I would suggest that you think about a proof of concept with some charter schools. They have more flexibility than public schools.

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Darryl,

Who is Erik? 1Gen2Fund is an SaaS cloud enterprise solution for Universities that helps them maintain, manage, and encourage 1st Generation student to success. We make our money by selling Universities a white-label crowdfunding platform, a SMS/MMS communication system, and content feed.  Our niche market of 1st generation student is defined by neither mother or father completed a 4 year degree. Our operating expenses are covered by the charges to the higher education institution. The charge for SaaS crowdfunding platforms is anywhere between $10,000-$30,000 per year.
I developed 1Gen2Fund based on my background as a financial aid director at a 4 years at a proprietary college. I had interviewed at least over 4000 students explaining to the their financial aid packages and how it works. I have met many 1st Generation students and their parents. I have  communicated with other departments at the school the register, admissions, student services, etc... So I have definitely have had my "boots on the ground". I will keep in mind the charter schools if we are planning to go after the K-12 market, but right now we are focusing on higher education.

Thank you for your feedback-- K

Photo of Darryl
Team

Congratulations on your idea. Anything that attempts to bring higher education to students is worthy of review. I want to challenge your first assumption-The Pain. The idea that the process of finding a school, funding and a mentor is the same for the vast majority of students. In fact, I am not sure what it means to be a mentor in this context? A mentor suggests someone who will invest time with someone over the course of a period of time. If I gave $1000 and wanted it split between two students I may not be able to provide the time commitment required of mentorship. Further, it is not unusual to find a donor(s) who wish to remain anonymous. How will you address this?

Will students be able to apply for both public and private schools? What about trade schools; I want to be a airplane mechanic? What options do I have? How will you manage the accreditation process? SF City College came close to losing its accreditation and it a real 1st Gen school as most city colleges are. Most of the students appear under 22; a person who is a 1stgen may be the person described with kids, working but in their 30s? Finally they are ready to go to school-what then?

One of the advantages that all schools that receive donations have is that they create endowments to allow the money to multiply for future scholarship. What type of financial management will you employ? What about insurance on the monies? You can have a run on early requests and not be able to serve a limited number of students. Two things can happen; you get a bad reputation with schools and students; or you start with a reserve fund based on your best analysis and can manage. Most donors understand that the support provided may not result in a graduate on the other end but that is not why they're giving donations. Unless you get a sizable startup endowment my guess is that you your operation will be operating from a negative cash flow for 2-3 years. I would do a SWOT of the history of well known competitors even if their focus is not 1stgen.

That said; there are hundreds of organizations that provide these services. Once again-your competitors why will your process be a game changer? To pull this off, will require access to demographic data as such that big schools already have. Three options; DOL, Education Dept and HHS.  

I am assuming (and may have missed) that your organization will be a 501(3c) because donors will be looking to write off their charitable contributions as well as corporations that hire interns. How will your program differentiate enough from what colleges already do through university support services? You identified the low number of donations provided by graduates. I believe that demographic is correct. People are more charitable when they feel great about their economic future not so when they are unsure.

Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Darryl,
Thank you for your comments we love feedback. You have lot of questions so let me know if I missed anything.
--The Pain-- First the platform would be setup where you could give funds, time (mentor-ship), or both, it is the givers choice. We feel that there are people that would like to donate their time to 1st Generation students but might not have the financial resources to provide monitory contributions. There is no problem with donating anonymous, the 1st Generation student can thank you the Giver, since the communication system is already anonymous utilizing the same technology that companies like AirBnb already use. I believe your statement refers to that getting into and staying in college is a difficult for all students, which I agree. If you feel that 1st Generation students and non-first generation students are on equal footing then I totally disagree.  Just 3 days ago, Ricky Yean--CEO of PRX, talks about what it is like to be a 1st Generation student and being poor how it has effected him as an entrepreneur, in "Privilege and Inequality in Silicon Valley" https://medium.com/tech-diversity-files/privilege-and-inequality-in-silicon-valley-92d455b66860#.64nsg1ecu Awesome read! And as a single mother of a public high school sophomore that is involved in team school sports, I meet many non-college educated parents, that want the best for their smart talented children, but really don't understand how to navigate the college system. I have helped countless kids write college admittance letters. The additional struggles these students go through  are real life experiences, not assumptions.  If you would like for me to send over additional links and story's from first generation students to validate additionally, I would be happy too.

Thank you for letting me tighten the description of the 1Gen2Fund a SaaS product. 1Gen2Fund current marketing strategy sells directly to 4 year public and private colleges. We would like to work with USB NextLeaders and TalentEd partners to bring social impact in education to beta test 1Gen2Fund with schools that are interested in this population.  We think it would be great to work on vocational education or skill based training, since it would improve the quality of many 1st Generation students, but we are starting with 4 year higher education institutions. Your exactly right accreditation can be effected by having to many 1st Generation students because of lower bond rates, higher dropout rates,and greater defaults on loans. Our goal is to help ICT channels to improve between the student, giver/donor, and University, we believe that through inefficiencies we can reduce college over head, let givers/donors personalize their donations, and students be more successful.  

The financial management is up to the school itself. There is a trend in Universities to offer crowdsourcing platforms to raise money for research, projects, scholarships, etc... students can post. There are other white label companies that sell directly to higher education currently, however, our platform offers a type of news feed through SMS/MMS to information, like helping get ready for the dorms, financial forms, calendar reminders, etc... We feel that many University departments like admissions, students services, etc... would benefit from such learning services.  In phase two, we would introduce a mentorship/tutoring programs has a feature.  We are looking for seed funding, we know what technology we need and are working with developing partnerships. We are in a niche market, that focuses on 4.4 million students or 33% in the US. In California, 50% of the students are 1st Generation students.

The money goes to the school, our platform is just a service that helps colleges be more efficient.  The "crowd" determines the distribution of funds. Giver/Donors get recommendations, based on their interest and passions, and follow the 1st generation student through his/her college career to graduation. The students feel more comfortable and feel someone has a stake in their education besides themselves, donors are more satisfied because they get to chose who they feel more involved in where their money is going and Universities don't have to spend money building technology services. 

Technology companies need to show that they care about diversity, an easy way to support diversity is by support the bright minds of 1st generation students who are 76% low income and come from every ethnicity but are primarily Latino, Black, Indian, or Pacific Islander. 

Thank you again for us questions-- we appreciate the time you too to take a look and give your feedback on 1Gen2Fund.
--K

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Team

The post looks great Karen and team!  Thanks for the good luck and the same to you!
Tina

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Wow! Great work guys! The idea has really evolved and I love that you were able to get surveys out. 

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+1! Excited to see how much progress 1Gen2Fund has made team! As you continue to refine your idea, it'd be great to concisely format the idea post. I.e. condense your post to higlight the most important elements. The additional content can be saved in attachments or linked to Google Dos. Check out how these two ideas updated the format of their content:T

Long Term Education Insurance: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/refinement/long-term-education-insurance

UnBroke: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/refinement/un-broke

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Team

Hi Shane-- Thanks for the tips. I know that I needed to do this and will try to have it completed by tomorrow. I do have some new ideas to add to the platform based on a partnership we are formulating with a white label crowdsourcing company. It is away to start involving Brands--like Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Office Depot, etc... it super exciting. And is way more positive approach then our idea. How would you like for me to present this? Mention it on the page, or create an attachment for it? Thanks for all your help--Karen

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Hi Karen, you can present the Branding information in additional docs. Creating a "table of contents" linking to Google Docs for each category might work best. This might be easier to navigate through than sifting through the attachments. The Un-Broke Team is a good example of how this format might look:T

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Thanks Shane for the tip-- I will start organizing in a table of contents fashion. Karen

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Great idea. 

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My wife was a first generation student and when I told her about this she was so excited to see someone finally doing something in this arena. She could have used this technology to unite her family around small donations to help her cover some of the overbearing costs of higher education as well as the resources to feel more comfortable in adapting to a totally new and foreign environment. Good luck Karen and MJ!!!!

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Team

Hi Karen, I just took your survey, best of lucks on this final sprint!
PS. A small correction you might want to make, change the sign of one of the choices of a question to <$1000

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Hi Daniel-- Thank you for taking the survey! I just emailed MJ about fixing it. Best of luck to you and EmptyDesk too!

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Hi Karen ,
Thank you for dropping by and giving a great feedback! I read through your 1gen2fund idea and am truly impressed by your systematic thought process. Congrats & kudos for putting together an entire team and running surveys to gather diverse perspectives. I think this is really important step that you are conducting early on the ideation/refinement phase which really helps in reducing assumptions and building concrete insights.

Keep up the great work!
Jaskeerat 

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Team

Dear Karen,

This sounds like a fantastic matching strategy to get 1st generation students in the door.  I understand that the retention issue is out of scope for this project, but I would love to hear your thoughts on retention programs that could work.  The retention rates for first generation college students, particularly Native Americans, are depressing, even at my fairly well-funded state flagship university.

Sincerely,
pascale

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Team

Hi Pascale,

Thanks so much for your feedback. We totally agree, the mission of 1Gen2Fund is to have 1st Generation students graduate from 4 year colleges, so retention is very important and the statistics are not good. ScholarMatch https://scholarmatch.org/about-us/#our_impact  is an awesome San Fransisco based non-profit organization that offers a crowdfunding platform along with many, many mentoring services. There retention rate is excellent, 91% retention for 2014, compared to 67% national average. I know it is lower or 1st Generation student, do you have good data on this? We have not been able to find, good data on this.

One of things that we feel makes this program successful is they deal with a curated population base that they start early and provide ongoing mentoring services, really provide an environment that uses the best research that is available.  Some of their programs are just not scalable in a technology platform; however, we can incorporate some of the elements of their programs and hope that there we will be face-to-face location-based programs that will emerge to support the platform.

If you have not taken the survey please take a moment give our feedback on your giving habits at bit.ly/1mWU4YC it is really important for us to get this feedback. And if you know any friends that might be interested in 1Gen2Fund mission please have them complete the survey.

Thank you so much or taking the time to read about 1Gen2Fund and your feedback on the program. Karen

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Team

Hi Pascale,

Thanks so much for your feedback. We totally agree, the mission of 1Gen2Fund is to have 1st Generation students graduate from 4 year colleges, so retention is very important and the statistics are not good. ScholarMatch https://scholarmatch.org/about-us/#our_impact is an awesome San Fransisco based non-profit organization that offers a crowdfunding platform along with many, many mentoring services. There retention rate is excellent, 91% retention for 2014, compared to 67% national average. I know it is lower or 1st Generation student, do you have good data on this? We have not been able to find, good data on this.



One of things that we feel makes this program successful is they deal with a curated population base that they start early and provide ongoing mentoring services, really provide an environment that uses the best research that is available. Some of their programs are just not scalable in a technology platform; however, we can incorporate some of the elements of their programs and hope that there we will be face-to-face location-based programs that will emerge to support the platform.



If you have not taken the survey please take a moment give our feedback on your giving habits at http://bit.ly/1mWU4YC it is really important for us to get this feedback. And if you know any friends that might be interested in 1Gen2Fund mission please have them complete the survey.



Thank you so much or taking the time to read about 1Gen2Fund and your feedback on the program. Karen

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Lovely updates Karen and Mary Jean! It's great to see how you've developed the user personas and user journeys. Here's a helpful tip: for the screen shots of your Mural Experience map, it'd be great to export higher resolution images. Right now it's hard to view the images and text for each scene. You might also consider cropping the experience map and inserting 3 scenes at a time. This would allow the images to be bigger so we can read what's going on. Tightening up visuals would also help. I.e. making sure the text doesn't overflow out of the box and aligning the images to fit. Perhaps Julia Rose West can help you with this tweak:)

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Team

Hi Shane--thanks for your suggestions. I was having problems converting the mural.ly document into jpgs, and got sick of waiting. But, I know now how to create jpgs in mural.ly so I can make the changes. 

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There is something already very similar to this (although not directed specifically towards 1st gen students).

https://www.loangifting.com/

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Thanks for this resource! Crowd sourcing student loans is really interesting. Thanks K

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Welcome to the refinement phase Karen and Mary Jean! We’re thrilled to see all the progress your team has made since the beginning of the Ideas phase. In particular, we love how you’ve developed this idea with feedback from first generation students in your local community.

In the Refinement phase, we’re looking forward to how you might develop the business model and user experience of 1Gen2Fund. A potential challenge of this marketplace might lie in the acquisition of potential donors/ investors. In addition to alumni donors, how might 1Gen2Fund broaden the funding pool to include other investors and sponsorships from companies? It’s fantastic to see that you’ve identified the personal connection as an incentive for donors to participate. What might be other incentives/ value propositions for investors to participate? How might you develop a sustainable business model beyond philanthropy? Collecting feedback from potential university partners and corporate sponsors might help you refine the core value proposition. We’d also love to learn more about the user experience of 1Gen2Fund. e.g. what would a typical student profile look like? Can students list their financial needs on a semester to semester, and year to year basis? Your team might like to reach out to these like-minded ideas in Refinements for some knowledge exchange: EduDream http://bit.ly/1kbVLiI and Brighter Investments http://bit.ly/1kbVRqx

Here are some key questions and milestones we encourage from all ideas in the Refinement:
1. How might this idea address the unique needs of low-income families and first generation college students?
2. Clearly summarize the value proposition of your idea in 1-2 sentences
3. Identify assumptions that need to be answered in order to validate your value proposition.
4. Collect feedback from potential partners and users to answer the assumptions you’ve identified.
5. Communicate your idea in a visual way with user experience maps http://ideo.pn/UX_Map Or you may choose to use the Mural template provided to you 

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 12/22" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!



We’re excited to see this idea progress in the next weeks!

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Team

Congrats on making it to refinement guys!

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Congrats on making it to the Refinement Phase Karen! In the next few days we'll be sending you additional feedback to help you take this idea forward - so be on the lookout for that. We're looking forward to how this idea will grow!

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Team

Thank's for taking 1Gen2Fund to the next level! I had a great time and learned a lot at the meetup at IDEO yesterday. The team is looking forward to working more in this project!

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Hi Karen! Great to see your idea is developing! I wanted to check in on some logistical things around the Path to Pitching: if selected would you be able to commit to a residential program (from 2 - 6 months depending on the program)? Do you have a co-founder (most accelerators require you do)? Think about how you could prototype before the pitch day in February.

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Team

Hi Alexandra--Thanks for the kind words. I do have a co-founder--Mary Jean Koontz who is the listed team member on the site. Regarding the residential program, we are both open to a program. However, I am a single mom and can only go outside of SF Bay area during 2 of the summer months. I must stay in SF during the school year. Mary Jean is also a parent, but has more flexible. I have been looking at developing this in Bootstrap, and we have looked at throwing together a Balsamic web prototype. I have a question for you through, I believe most accelerators require a 2 co-founder's and one must be technical, meaning coder. I am a hacker not a coder, with a educational technology degree, so some will not consider me a technical co-founder. Please verify this with accelerators if this will be a problem, so we can determine forward what documents we need to work on. Thanks K

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Hi Alexandra,
Hello from Mary Jean,  Karen's business partner; we are interested in an accelerator in the SF Bay Area as we both are parents here in the SF Bay Area.  Having said that, I have flexibility to travel as I am familiar with some accelerator models that require travel for cohort meetings.  We are very interested in the Path to Pitch and an accelerator that is committed to education companies.  Are you from OPENIdeo in San Francisco?  We'd love to come meet you some time soon?
Thanks!
Mary Jean Koontz

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Team

We are working with more social impact accelerators so they are not as stringent on with tech requirements. I think you would be fine. You should look at validating your getting the prototype ready and customer validation. Those template worksheets are up now so they should help you. Good luck!

Check them out: https://challenges.openideo.com/content/milestones

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Team

Hi Alex--Awesome to hear about the accelerators. Thanks for the milestone templates. I have been developing the wireframe's for the prototype and looking to develop this with bootstrap coding. We have multi-users in this program: the student, donor and university administration. The 1st generation students and donors are relatively to validate with, the university is more complex. Since it is the end of the semester and close to Christmas and school does not start until January 4-15th, school administration is very difficult to reach.  We will not be able to start this process until about January 10th.  Administrators are very busy at the beginning and end of school starts.

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Great project; first generation students also need an anonymous social area to ask questions and gain guidance.  Our team is developing Customer Discovery interviews to ask even more first generation students about their needs/experience.  In fact, we even hired a first generation college intern to help with such interviews.    If you are a first generation college student or even graduated as a first generation college student, please let us know your what is or would have been most helpful to you before and during college?  Thank you!

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Team

Hi Karen!
I like this idea and the ecosystem you have outlined.  I just jumped over from responding to your comment on the Idea I posted.  I wanted to join the conversation here as well.
My experience as a college alum, of a small liberal arts college, is that donors contribute either to the overall fund, or they can designate their donation to specific areas, like scholarships.  Private universities do tap their alumni aggressively for all donations. Will crowd funding and personal connections increase scholarship funds?  How will it effect donations overall?  One issue that universities face is that when giving is targeted some of the needs that they face are not met.  How will you present this Idea to universities so that they will be on board with it?   Will be interesting to test the Idea with all stakeholders.

I discovered that the students who make solicitation calls at my college are often those that receive aid. This upset me. It would be great if all students were on equal ground.  It is difficult for some scholarship students to fit into the college culture and they might drop out due to this.  On the one hand I think storytelling is an effective way to draw folk to a cause, on the other hand I am not sure that all students would want to share their personal needs. They might just want to get on with being a college student.   What are youth saying about this?   For a variety of reasons as a donor I would choose to contribute to a pool, not a particular applicant.  Are you thinking that both directed donations and donations to a pool will be available on the platform? 
 Connecting to alumni for mentorship is a great idea. Another idea is to connect applicants with current students, or recent grads, who are from their home community for support. These folk may not be donors but they will be a great support for youth who are in the application process and might be away from home in the new culture of college. Check out Posse Foundation. They speak about the role of community for first generation students attending college. They send groups of students together so that it is a built in community. Maybe your ecosystem can expand to include current students. How might this look?  ( I listened to a panel of educators discussing the issue of college drop out rates and one tool that was being used in Chicago was for current students to text message reminders and motivational messages to youth, from the same low income communities, who were in the process of applying to college. Using tools that youth use, to connect folk for support. Great idea I think.) 
Are you thinking of implementing this Idea in public universities, private or both?  Do you have any info or data on the giving behavior of alumni from the two different systems.


(Not sure if all of the above is clear.....  sorry if it is not.)
Exciting idea and I look forward to learning more as you get feedback from potential users!

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Team

Hi Tina--
Great questions. Here are the answers to your questions.
--Will crowd funding and personal connections increase scholarship funds? All the research we have been doing indicates that alumni want to help current students. Middlebury created a current student crowdfund campaign for student projects where they went to alumni. It looks like all of the projects that the students posted got funded that was posted. However, the project seems to have stopped about 2 years ago. We have contacted the person who was the administrator of the program to see what happened, she was promoted at about the same time the project stopped.
--How will it effect donations overall? How will you present this Idea to universities so that they will be on board with it? Many Foundations look to alumni giving to help determine wither they will donate, and often match the alumni donations. So, more funds coming from alumni, means more funds form foundations and organizations. The Foundation funds are much more flexible.
-- One of the reasons that you could be receiving calls from students that are already receiving aid is chances are they are on work study. Here is how the financial aid system works: each school has a budget (Cost of Attendence--COA) this includes tuition, food shelter, transportation, books, and personal expenses. There is a Effective Family Contribution (EFC) which is an algorithm that is based on parents/students income and personal assets. From there aid is determined. Low EFC indicates greatest need so they would receive the grants, work-study, and then loans. Universities like to use work-study students because it is basically free labor for them.
--Scholarship Students-- Totally agree--it is hard for them to fit in. This is why I think an important part of the platform would be for student's to be able to post in-tangible needs or establish mentorships on it.
--Feedback from Students-- We have asked about 4 1st Generation students about the platform. They love it and very excited. The system now is based on students push model--students need to find, this is a pull model where they can post and pull people in.
--Donation structure--individual or group-- This is where it gets tricky and it deals with tax deductions. Tax law states that individuals cannot receive donations, in order to be deductible.  So our solution to this is you can choose who you would like to donate to; however, there is a clause that would state when you go into donations that we will try or best to give to this student however, this donation is available to the pool of students and the funds can be decided by the University who should get the funding, allowing for the donation to be tax deductible. If the donor indicates that they only want the funds to go to the student, then they need to understand that this is a non-deductible donation. However, we are unsure if this "clause" would work and really need a non-profit tax attorney to help us with this. 
--Current Students-- Yes they are very important and are actually a selling item to schools. According to our research, the sooner schools start involving students in types of alumni activities the more likely they will be future donors. This platform would be designed to include current students as well.
--Awesome idea about the text messaging issue, as you know, anything mobile and using communications methods like SMS, MMS, voice, etc... I love. One of the problems is regarding the social networking aspect of this platform, having some problems with security and safety issues. Would love for the students to chat with donors, visa versa-- but what happens if it turns into sexting or bullying on anyone of the people?
--We were looking to market to both public and private institutions. Yes, we have data on giving-- of course private schools that have less then 5000 students have the biggest donors!

We have a Slack page where we are putting our resources and research it is it is at https://1gen2fund.slack.com  there is a lot of stakeholders in the program and lots of unknowns. One thing that helps is that I have a background in Financial aid and working in administration at a college, so there is a lot of prior knowledge.  I have a market research intern starting January 4th, if we make it to the next round, her task will be providing resources for this project. 

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Hi Karen! Alex from Path to Pitching here, great idea! I like that it's focused on 1st Gen students.  

Are the personas you created from user interviews? If so then great! If not, I recommend getting out into the community and talking to students and university staff alike. Once you've done that publish them here! Next figure out a light weight way to prototype, maybe a storyboard, and get out there again and get user feedback. Publish that as well! The further you develop your idea the more likely our accelerator partners will be interested.  

We've developed Human Centered Milestones to help you develop your idea, check them out! http://bit.ly/1N6hgbQ

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Hi Alex-- Nice to meet you. Thank you for all your help.
The persona's are based on people I meet through being a Financial Aid planner and assistant Director of Financial Aid at a very expensive proprietary 4 year college. We meet with every student that came into the school that was receiving financial aid.  1st Generation students where given special attention because of their high dropout rate; therefore, increase their chances of defaulting on their student loans.  So I can honestly stay I interviewed about 4000 incoming students, and the idea was developed based on my experiences working with these students and my background in technology.  

The team started yesterday using the Human Centered Milestones template and we are moving our things into the milestones.
Super excited to get started.

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Karen, your idea is to create a platform to find money to pay tuition fee right? Because, I am lost within stories of maria, eric, Shantel and their families and babies.

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Hi Mustafa--
 This platform is not a place for students find money to pay for tuition, it is a platform where students can ask for money and resources, which makes their stories really important. However, when I do product development, I always start with developing the Persona so I can understand who the people are. I don't believe in "product market fit" concept, with the "field of dreams" of you build it they will come that is currently the rage in tech development.

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Cool , Social platform that contains student information (story) people read and ask money and get donated , how are you gonna verify that story is real ? how I am going to believe you that you have written story about Maria is true , which maria is the real maria , so you may start thinking verification thing to integrate to this idea , do you know why homeless people cant get money from other people because they are not verified , is this homeless person really needs help or not ? when people passing with their cars every traffic lights on road , nowadays very common in USA roads , I am pretty sure that people who are driving thinking about this and keep their money in their pocket.

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Team

The platform is trying to marry the relationship between the school, 1st Generation student, and alumni/corporate donors. The student is asked to participate by the school through their admissions/financial aid process. Often, the student already writes their stories in their college admissions letter. However, when it comes down to any crowdsourcing there is really no way to validate if the story is true or not, which I believe was a recent article in Techcrunch. My stories that I created do have some validity, they are based on people I had meet while I was a director of Financial Aid for the Art Institutes. This puts me in a special place, I understand the challenges students and the stress that 1st year college face and the college systems. The involvement of the school itself is key, this demographic is particularly hard to retain, and is measured. Any support they can find for these students would be a benefit to the college.

Photo of Mustafa Akkoc
Team

- "the student already writes their stories in their college admissions letter " this will create new business for writers, fake story writers will pop up suddenly around the USA
- you may need to create family budget calculation form, this will contain, does family own house or apt, does family has tv at home, how many cars does family have? etc.. based on this you can have some idea about student's family situation and student budget 
- If the story is true or not can not be validated means story is not important at all , it just makes people happy or unhappy when they read. 

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Team

Hi Mustafa--
-- We are talking about 1st Generation college students, that have no family to support them in completing applications. How would they know that you can hire someone to write admissions letters? I see this more as a trend with students that have had parents go previously to college. This really is not the mindset of this particular cluster.
--Each school has a budget they use for determining financial aid it looks at tuition cost, room & board, transportation. This gives a total cost based on each individual school, where the student lives, etc... Financial aid is based on the information that the student and parent provides on the FASFA, this information leads to a computation of the Effective Family Contribution, which takes into factor how much the families, makes, cash assets, etc... it does not if they own their own house.  This is a federal standard already.
Thanks for the questions--Karen

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Team

What does this mean ? 1st generation college students ? You mean they are already studying in college and family support stopped. How about new high school graduates , According to my research there are schools in USA from an entire class 3 people went to college.  Does your idea help them ? 

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Team

1st Generation students refer to college students that neither mother and/or father attended college previously.  Some institutions, like Dartmouth, Yale, etc... has their own definitions which are much more flexible, usually it is if neither parent graduated from college. They can be new students or continuing students. This is because they have such a hard time recruiting 1st Generation students.  Yes there are schools that have low amount of students attending college,  but what if there are only 30 kids that attend the school. This happens in often in rural schools.  Each school is different. The platform is to help these 1st Generation students, by offering a track for funding and supporting resources--mentorship/advice etc... This students often have a difficult to assimilate with in college and have a higher rate of dropping out than students that parents went or completed college.

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Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

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Team

Thank you OpenIDEO for featuring this idea!

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Great to see you in the challenge Karen! We love your focus on creating a funding platform for 1st generation college students. As you continue to develop this idea, it'd be helpful to think about what might incentivize more donors to invest in a student's education on the platform. Can there be partnerships with companies that have initiatives around supporting 1st generation college students? It'd also be helpful to think about what aspects of other crowdfunding platforms might be adapted for this idea: http://www.crowdcrux.com/crowdfunding-sites-for-college-and-education-costs/

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: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few scenarios were created to explain the idea in a human-centered way. Looking forward to how this will grow!

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Great to see you back on OpenIDEO, Karen! Great idea and we're excited to see it evolve.

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Thanks Shane-- The links were super helpful. I started working on the personas of the the stakeholders for the platform and posted what I have so far there. Super excited to write the ones for the College administrators, I really know these people and would love to give them voice, but also want to show what is required of the students. And the links gave me inspiration for developing the wireframes.
Would love any feedback regarding the persona's which have been developed. I am having a good time with this challenge. Will there be another meet-up in SF for this challenge. Thank you for all your support.