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3C Fund: Community's Cyclic Commitment to Education

Re-imagining ed-costs through a cyclic community-student program that enables bi-directional flow of funds leveraging shared economies

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

The program closely works with public and community schools who are key stakeholders and the primary decision makers in identifying which students get nominated to receive the community fund. Once the students are enrolled in the program, their educational costs are paid from the community fund, on the condition that students on graduating have to give back over certain time frame. This fund then rotates to the next batch of selected students- creating a cycle of education!
The idea is broken into three parts of execution. And further explained by 'experience mapping visuals'

PART 1:  COMMUNITY NOMINATES POTENTIAL STUDENTS

Community extends the support to the students by forming the Fund ( State and private contributions). The fund is associated with public and community schools who nominate students that are motivated to study further. The Community extends support in terms of covering 100 % tuition fee as well as access to online educational material, ensuring an all round educational development.

This happens in 2 phases, 

  1. Nomination from Community
    • True potential of students is best observed by the teachers who not only spend quantitative and qualitative time with students, but also are deeply embedded in the community and understand the socio-economic conditions of their students. Also, it is important to recognize tell tale signs of a potential student that are represented not just by excelling in an academic environment but in community or state level organized events. Thus, embedding the first nomination cycle of 3C Fund in the hands community or public schools ensures that students from diverse backgrounds are selected. 
    • 3C Fund nomination offers unique nomination process, different from self nomination system followed in traditional scholarship methods, such that nominating students is a collective effort of teachers and administrative staff, thus ensuring that they evaluate all criteria's of a student. Having more than one school staff involved in selection of student decreases chances of bias.
    • Nomination = Acknowledgment: Student nomination to 3C Fund also acts like a motivational strategy for students to work towards. Being acknowledged for their hard-work & commitment further encourages students to perform and act more responsibly.
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  • Local Community involvement enables more opportunities for students: 3C Fund wants to encourage local community to play pivotal role in aiding education. Thus, it allows local businesses to donate as CSR. Not only does giving to 3C Fund benefit the business in terms of receiving tax benefits but also increases the number of nominations in the public schools of the neighborhood.  For example, if 10 local businesses of neighborhood ABC donate to 3C fund , then the public schools in that neighborhood can nominate more number of students for 3C Funding, as compared to other neighborhoods.
  • State Involvement also can increase Nominations: Other than local businesses, individual states governments can also increase nominations from certain neighborhoods that can benefit from better education. This flexibility ensures focus in communities that can benefit from better education.
  • All nominations are sent to 3C Fund which then evaluates all applications. Each year, the number of applications fluctuates based on 3C Fund's ability to forecast number of ongoing community repayments as well as other donations.
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    Partnering with a financial institution like UBS allows 3C Fund to develop a knowledge sharing partnership, for building econometric models as well as sharing retail space through their well distributed banks. UBS on the other hand benefits from incoming high potential students that can become potential clients of the bank.  

    

    2. Selection & Initiation:

  • Evaluation criteria of 3C Fund is similar to National Merit Scholarship Program. Once the student is selected, they are informed to visit the closest UBS Branch to meet their 3C Fund Advisor. The 3C Fund advisor meets not just the student but also the family and informs them what it means to be a part of 3C Fund Community. The potential students are informed before-hand about the repayment policies and legalities of being a responsible 3C Funder. The final decision of acceptance depends on the student and the family. The students can choose from some flexible funding opportunities available by 3C Fund, i.e tuition fee or tuition fee + living cost. 
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PART 2: MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR FORMING STRONGER COMMUNITY BOND

Offers increased engagement opportunities between professionals and the students that are benefitting from their support. The program offers the option for professionals to become mentors to students too. The match between students and professionals is done by a core-committee, in order to mitigate external influences that can corrupt the system. We propose complete anonymity, however, final authority of disclosing information is left on the real beneficiaries, the students.

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PART 3: REPAYING BACK TO 3C FUND

Is when the role reverses, the students, now professionals, who availed the fund are now bound to pay in return, the cost of another student's fee. The professionals do not know which students they are paying for, hence making an anonymous contribution to the Community Fund. The Fund then extends these resources to other deserving students. Thus, ensuring cyclic contribution

  1.  New professionals select payment plan
    • Students who become professionals have to visit their 3C Fund Advisor located in the closest UBS Branch within first 3 months of being employed, to discuss which plan they will chose to repay.
    • Based on their annual salary, 3C fund suggests a payment plan. 3C offers three flexible payment plans. These are: a) Repayment within 5- 10 years; b) Repayment within 10-15 years; c) Repayment in 15+ years.

   

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     2. Choosing to repay earlier more beneficial and is encouraged by 3C         Fund. These being: 

  • Lower overall repayment cost- Since 3C Fund creates aggregated tuition fee based on annual average cost of education, this aggregate is effected by inflation or deflation in overall cost of education. Thus professionals who repay earlier may not be effected by such additional costs.
  • Receive incentives from UBS- Repaying their dues earlier is also a good indicator of responsible financial management, thus, partnering financial institution(UBS) offers these professionals lower rate of interest for purchasing house/car loans.

    

    3. Encouraging positive actions through 3C Fund Social Network

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

What incentives can be given to higher educational institutes to enroll in the program? What other features must be included to make it truly cyclic? What can be the loop holes? How can the system be exploited?

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

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

Yes! - 60%

To a degree - 30%

Not that I can tell - 10%

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

Yes! - 72.7%

It's attempting to - 9.1%

Not that I can tell - 18.2%

3. How excited are you about this idea?

I'm so excited I just can't hide it! - 54.5%

I'm pretty neutral in my excitement level - 27.3%

I don't feel very excited about this idea. - 18.2%

44 comments

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Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Interesting article on use of technology to keep school alumni engaged. Talks about mentorship. In this case mentorship between older alumni and more recent graduates. Some commonality with 3C discussions we've had on keeping working professionals engaged beyond just fulfilling financial obligation, instilling sense of generosity, etc.  http://roots.ly/fSq3Zg

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Photo of Dana Atallah
Team

Hello, 

I read your idea with great interest but I'm going to be somewhat of the devil advocate here.  This is not any novel new idea.  For decades, across the world, through various organizations, government sponsored scholarships, armed forces, community organizations, etc., low income students and non low income students had the chance to obtain some kind of scholarship for university education with the hope that they give back either to their community, country or the entity that granted them the scholarship.  However, I have come across many students, during my university days, that got away with not giving back.  I remember a student from China, who told me that her entire village pooled their resources to send her to the US to continue her graduate education.  She ended up getting married and never returned or paid back (as far as I know).  Additionally, the whole idea is to give students the ability to graduate without the burden of a debt.  I don't see this as a solution to lower the cost of education.  If anything, it would inflate the cost once interest is calculated into the pay back.  Why would anyone want to be paying for their college degree 15 years later, when work experience becomes more relevant.  A detailed cost/benefit analysis should be done.  This is a long term commitment and would only serve a very small group of people.  Good luck!

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Photo of Brigadier V Mahalingam
Team

My compliments to Jaskeerat and her team for bringing out an excellent idea. The scheme involves the community in supporting low income talented students. It encourages gifted students in a way that neediness does not come in their way of their development. Given the fact that the receiver has the obligation to repay, it instills a sense of responsibility. This is a step in the right direction which I have no doubt will succeed and expand once the outcomes are visible.

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Photo of Juan Vivas
Team

I love this idea, it empowers people to create the change within communities and is a model that could become a culture so people can replicate it all over the country. I wish it the best and congratulations for creating this event.

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Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on your winning idea Jaskeerat and team! We love how you've fleshed out the potential for this idea to help students afford college since the beginning of the Refinement Phase. What an amazing journey it has been. We've also been inspired by how you've engaged with the community in a human-centered way as you iterated on this idea. 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!

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Photo of Joel Gingery
Team

Hi again,
I came across a thought provoking video that I wanted to share with you: https://youtu.be/gECAPOpKNyA 'Radical Ideas for Reinventing College' from the d.School at Stanford. 
Hope you find it interesting.  http://dschool.stanford.edu/fellowships/2014/10/02/a-problem-we-should-all-be-interested-in/
Joel Gingery

Spam
Photo of Joel Gingery
Team

Hi Jaskeerat and Jim,
In working on a local project I came across some additional information about design thinking that I'd like to share with you:  the first is the d.school at stanford:  http://dschool.stanford.edu/use-our-methods/
The second is a series of articles from HBR centered around design thinking: https://hbr.org/2015/09/design-thinking-comes-of-age
and especially the customer journey map of the VA: http://www.innovation.va.gov/docs/Toward_A_Veteran_Centered_VA_JULY2014.pdf

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Jaskeerat.  Great presentation!
Is the fund essentially working as a loan for students?  If so in what way will a student feel differently than borrowing from other sources?  Is the 3C fund loan interest free?
The question about paying back the community pool in alternative ways other than income, posed by OpenIDEO, is interesting.  I can imagine several ways that youth might contribute to their communities after college, and also during breaks from school (which seem to be getting longer these days.)  Do you have any thoughts on this?  I wonder if building in service projects, or employment with local businesses during school breaks, might help offset some of the long term financial burdens students acquire.

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

One of the many things I like about 3C proposal is the community, teacher and working professional involvement in the process. One of Jaskeerat's statements that grabs my attention is "Also, it is important to recognize tell tale signs of a potential student that are represented not just by excelling in an academic environment but in community or state level organized events. Thus, embedding the first nomination cycle of 3C Fund in the hands community or public schools ensures that students from diverse backgrounds are selected." The 3C proposal is recognizing that potential can be exhibited in more ways than test scores. These ideas mesh well with a lot of current thinking that nurturing creativity is becoming increasingly important to our society. (Creativity and doing well on tests are not always well correlated... sometimes negatively correlated.) I can think of a couple examples. Jan Chipchase (formerly with frog design) is eminent in the design world, a commercial anthropologist, almost a sort of Indiana Jones of the design world, out there in the field observing people, often in challenging locations around the world. He tells the story of how he wasn't much of a student, largely because there were more interesting things to do. Another example that comes to mind is Gillian Lynne, the famed choreographer of "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera". According to Wikipedia... "Lynne's gift for dancing was discovered by a doctor. She had been underperforming at school, so her mother took her to the doctor and explained about her fidgeting and lack of focus. After hearing everything her mother said, the doctor told Lynne that he needed to talk to her mother privately for a moment. He turned on the radio and walked out. He then encouraged her mother to look at Lynne, who was dancing to the radio. The doctor noted that she was a dancer, and encouraged Lynne's mother to take her to dance school." I think there is a lot of potential in the 3C concept to grow in the direction of not only channeling funds to traditional obvious choices of students (straight A's, great SATs), but also helping to provide the "radar" to detect potential that might have been missed. (The higher ed system probably also needs to evolve as well to accommodate such individuals that might traditionally have been missed.)

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Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Bettina, Great questions. I think that one of the 3C mechanisms that makes this feel different than a loan is the mentorship relationship between current and former students. 3C tries to create a bond between generations and a sense of responsibility. Through a sense of involvement the working professional will feel that they're doing more than writing a check to meet a contractual obligation. On the question of whether 3C is interest free, I think there is enough flexibility to go either way. Even without interest, the fund can become self-sustaining after the first entering class  pays off the borrowed value. (I show the math in another posted comment.) With interest, the fund can grow and serve an expanding population. But I think more interesting is that the 3C concept has the flexibility to accommodate an "income share agreement" payback model (fixed percent of salary over fixed term) rather than principal + interest. This has great potential for resolving the affordability issue. It spreads risk across a population ( a bit like insurance). I think it can help feed a rising tide that raises all ships.

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

"How 3C Scales, and How Success is Measured"

In the most basic form of an educational loan program (which starts with seed money, supports a fixed number of entering students per year, and requires fixed payback installments over a fixed number of years), a self-sustaining equilibrium is reached (after which time no more seed money is needed to keep the program going) after the first entering class of individuals in the program make their last payment installment that completes their obligation. Therefore, a minimum criterion for success (from a finance standpoint) is that the fund should have stabilized (requiring no more seed investment) once the first class of entering freshman have made their final payment back to the fund.

- Beyond this bare minimum measure of finance success, it is desirable for the fund to grow in order that more and more additional students can be supported by the 3C program. This growth of fund allows the program to scale and reach a larger audience. Some of the mechanisms that could allow the fund to grow and the program to scale out (rather than just stabilize at a fixed number of students)...

- 1. Require the working professionals to pay back interest as well as the principal

- 2. If Income Share Agreement payback approach is adopted, adjust the required payback term and/or salary percentage to ensure that average payback exceeds amount borrowed, which basically accomplishes the equivalent of interest within the ISA model.

- 3. Continued ongoing contributions from state, individuals, corporate social responsibility programs, etc., (beyond just the initial seed money) allow the fund to keep growing and base of supported students to expand.

- 4. The 3C program could allow the working professionals to make contributions that are larger than their contractual obligation, or keep making donations after their debt is paid. The human connections aspect of 3C (such as mentorship feature) could help strengthen feelings of generosity.

- 5. If the Income Share Agreement model is followed, financial success of the individual participants, and a growing economy (which 3C helps to propel) can create a growth or windfall scenario for the fund.

- Financial health of the fund is important, as it gates the number of students that can be reached; but is just one measure of success

- The 3C program needs to also establish and monitor metrics that gauge how well the program is serving the low-income and disadvantaged populations that are underserved by existing programs, and make any course corrections if disadvantaged populations remain underserved.

- Since one of the principle problems with the current education financing crisis is the difficulty graduates have with paying back the debt obligations, there needs to be a way of measuring whether 3C has made an improvement or not. A useful metric might be based on fraction of salary that individuals need to pay, and gauging whether it is reasonable at different salary tier points. (With an Income Share Agreement approach, there is more opportunity to actually set payback rates to what’s needed to make the rates fair at different salary tiers.)

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

"3C's Innovation in Partner Involvement"

- One of 3C’s greatest strengths is its diversity of partners involved in the program, and the various inter-connections between them...

- Secondary schools and teachers engaging in the student selection process

- State and private contributors who provide initial seed money to establish the fund, as well as possibly make ongoing contributions to further expand the fund. Private contributors could include both individuals and corporate social responsibility programs.

- Working professionals not only paying back into the fund but also interacting with and mentoring specific current students, perhaps helping them with finding a career path after graduation. Perhaps arranging internship opportunities.

- Local businesses offering current students work opportunities during breaks, perhaps to help reduce debt burden.

- Partnership between 3C and major financial institution, such as UBS. The financial institution brings expertise in fund management, setting interest rates, designing payback plans, and providing customer service to program participants. If Income Share Agreement payback approach is adopted, the financial institution would contribute sophisticated forecasting and numerical modeling to fine-tune payback salary percentage and duration commitments necessary to sustain and grow the fund.

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

“How 3C Makes College More Affordable and Accessible (especially for low income students in the US)”
- The 3C “Fund” forms the foundation for how 3C makes college affordable and accessible to selected students. A strong, sustainable fund is key.
- The 3C concept incorporates many inter-connected components that all combine to help initially seed, strengthen and sustain that fund. These components include state, community and business involvement in seeding the fund; a nomination process that increases chances of student success through selecting motivated individuals who are full of potential; mentorship networks that increase the chances of graduates finding high-paying jobs that ensure their ability to pay back into the fund; many ideas for building a sense of responsibility and generosity across several groups of stakeholders, for example mentorship and gamification.
- It is a diverse range of human interconnections reaching beyond the basic financial instrument that ultimately strengthens the fund and the 3C program.
- 3C also offers flexible payback schedules to accommodate graduates with a range of different salaries, thus broadening the affordability.
- The 3C concept is also flexible enough to allow the substitution of an Income Share Agreement (aka PayItForward) payback model, wherein a fixed percentage of salary is paid by the working professional over a fixed time period, rather than a rigid obligation of principal + interest. This spreads risk over an entire population of participants, and can contribute greatly toward the affordability and accessibility of higher education, as well as acting as a hedge against defaults, bad luck, etc.
- 3C has a nomination/selection process that is “close to the ground”, involving teachers and others who are deeply embedded in the community. This extra degree of human connection holds the promise of greatly increasing accessibility to higher education, especially to disadvantaged students who are full of potential but whose test scores may not reflect that potential. The 3C’s nomination/selection process’ more sensitive “radar” has the chance of making both the obvious choices (high grades, high SATs), as well as spotting the “diamonds in the rough” who might often possess an extraordinary potential for creativity, but who may have been “missed” by more conventional selection processes.
- With the participation of an over-arching major financial institution, like UBS, the 3C roll-outs can target locales or regions that are most in need of this program.

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Jaskeerat, Shane, Joel,
I went through the entire presentation and community comments, and wrote up 3 sets of summary notes on how I think 3C addresses the 3 primary evaluation focus areas: affordability/accessibility; innovation and activating new partners; ability to scale and how success is measured. I'll send separate comments for those 3 sets of notes.

Spam
Photo of Joel Gingery
Team

FYI Here is a link to a talk from the San Fransico chapter of Creative Mornings that takes an interesting perspective:  hope you find it useful:  https://creativemornings.com/talks/jennifer-daniel/1?mc_cid=a5e8ce6328&mc_eid=8b6d3f29ce

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Jaskeerat, Please note that all updates to proposal need to be made by Tuesday January 26. As you've probably seen, OpenIDEO recommends "keeping text short" and uploading other elements as "descriptively titled attachments". My feeling is that the main body of your presentation is currently "just right" in terms of length and flow, and that additions to the proposal between now and Tuesday be in the form of those descriptively titled attachments, e.g. PDFs. For example you could add attachments along the lines...
(1) "How 3C Makes College More Affordable, Accessible"; (2) "3C's Innovation in Partner Involvement"; (3) "How 3C Scales"; (4) "How 3C and Traditional Financial Institutions are Complementary". The first 3 are the criteria that judges will be focusing on: 1. Affordability (does the idea make college more accessible by reimagining the cost?); 2. Being innovative (does the concept think beyond current cost structures and activate new sectors or partners?); 3. Ability to scale (What does success look like for the idea and how might it scale?).
I think that these topics are well covered in present main body of proposal and all the great discussions throughout the community comments. It's mostly a matter of gathering the thoughts together into summarized form in those attachments so that evaluators can quickly review them. (Though perhaps the "How it Scales" topic may need some more thought.)

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Jaskeerat, The proposal looks fantastic! It's come together very nicely. The visuals are great. Lots of nice little touches, like gamification. And the human side of the story really comes through. The only other suggestion I would make at this point is that, if you have the time during beginning of the "Final Feedback" phase, add a brief "summary" or "concluding remarks" paragraph to the end.

Spam
Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Thanks for the update Jaskeerat! It's great to see how you're fleshing this idea out with the use of experience maps. Would it be possible to insert some higher resoltion versions of your experience maps? The text in the images are a bit fuzzy. We'd love to have your new assets be fully visible to the community:) 

Spam
Photo of Jaskeerat Bedi
Team

Shane Zhao : Thanks for the input Shane. I increased the resolution of the images from my end and tried to update the images in the main body but they are still looking fuzzy. I have added the same images as attachments hoping that text and visuals are accessible. Hope that helps! If not can you please suggest any other way to get around this?  

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

Maybe a possible way of solving fuzzy text problem: I recall that when images are posted in-line in the presentation or in the photo gallery, one can supply a caption.  Could this caption capability be used instead of, or in addition to, the text that's part of the image files? I guess if that approach were used them some of the image files containing multiple graphics would need to be split into multiple separate files so they could each have a separate caption. 

Spam
Photo of Jim Robertson
Team

I just looked again at the graphics using my laptop. The text is readable. (I had been looking before on mobile device, and it wasn't readable.) So maybe it's clear enough.

Spam
Photo of Jaskeerat Bedi
Team

Thanks for checking up Jim  :)

Spam
Photo of Joel Gingery
Team

Hi Jaskeerat,
Great job developing your idea!  Thank you for the opportunity to participate with you and Jim.  As I read thru the proposal a number of thoughts presented themselves, probably too many.  You have no doubt considered many if not all of these ideas already; I'll try to be as brief as possible. 
1)  If for some unforeseen reason not enough or no money is available to be either made available for students or from students, it might be good to agree on  expectations.   Would it be good to have an absolute underwriter (e.g. UBS) that would be responsible for paying all the bills so in the unlikely event of economic downturns that all students in the program at the time could at least finish their student programs?   Or have some way of winding down the program?  Should participants be able to discharge their commitments in case of hardship?  (Currently student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy .) 
2)  What are the boundaries of the 'community?' (Each community?)  Could any member of the community contribute to the program with money or in kind?  Or, could any member of the community participate in the selection process, or only contributors?  This begs the question of how to start or where to start the program.  Would it make sense to encourage volunteers to run or help run the program?
3)  When should students be eligible for consideration?  As a senior?  1 yr prior to expected graduation?
I would suggest seriously considering the potential ramifications of involving the state in this program.   I extend the same thought to involving private companies that may have conflicts of interest.
4)  Which schools (colleges) will students be able to attend and receive support? 
5)  As suggested by Karen's post - below - would it be advantageous to limit re-payment to the principle amount?  I.e. no-interest?  What is the underlying purpose of this project?  Is it a "public service?"
6)  I really like the 'gamification' of the project and tying mentoring, resources to repayment; promotes participation by both community members and students, graduates.
7)  Would it be useful to consider limiting repayment plans to one (not three) option, with a grace period before repayment is required to start, and a definite time limit e.g. 10 yrs, allowed for repayment?  (i.e. 12 yr total if given a 2 yr grace period.)
8)  Where does control of the program lie?  National headquarters?  local?  Ministries?  A combination?

Spam
Photo of Jaskeerat Bedi
Team

Great points Joel,
Here are my thoughts--
1. The initial phase of kickstarting the 3C Fund depends on private or public fundings. The unique feature about this fund is that it can be positioned within UBS as well, as you suggested, and similar to UBS NextGen Leaders Program ( https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/a2ecb0b4-131e-430f-8824-308dcb5e7c33.pdf)  which has committed $10 Million for 5 years to college success. Or, it can be a grant given by the government to kickstart this cycle. However, the program should not be considered as a fully funded scholarship. Instead, it is critical to pay back to the community to keep the cycle going. In this manner, more students can benefit from this program, and it stands longer chances of sustaining because the cash flow is happening in both directions. There can be flexible options to repay, however, completely discharging might not be a good idea. In terms of the flow of cash Jim comment on numbers explains really well how an equilibrium can be achieved. Quoting from his comment, "At any given time after equilibrium is reached, there would be more working professionals paying into fund than there are students drawing from fund. "
2. The nomination process of students lies in the hand of school in which the students are studying, the final selection process is made by 3C Fund. At this point, 3C Fund can hold some kind of selection criteria, such as PSAT, that can further remove any bias selection. The 3C Fund cannot decide who will sit for their selection examinations. Contributing to the fund is open to any member of the community, however in order to protect student selection, the information about beneficiaries will be kept confidential. More support from community only ensures more slots in public schools for nominations.
3. Students are considered in their final year at high school, prior to when they join college. The reason for including States is so that they can decide which neighborhoods will benefit the maximum with increased education. Private organizations dont control in which area the program will be held, they can only influence the number of nomination spots for students, that too in public/community school.
4. At this moment, I did not think of selecting a select few schools, however, I do not see why this cannot be executed in all schools? Especially since, the 3C Fund works independently of schools.
5. There is no interest to education, just an aggregate amount, which according to: http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/student-finance/how-much-does-it-cost-study-us, is divided in terms of public/private schools & in-state or out of state fees. Similarly, our model can evaluate, and grant this loan depending on where the student gets accepted, such that if a student decides to pursue a private education, they need to pay an aggregate private school fee and vice-versa. 
Thus, it is not a public service, it is a community investment.
6. Thank you, I think we should take advantage of various engagement strategies to ensure that a responsible community is formed.
7. Grace period sounds like a good idea and I agree offers some kind of comfort space to students, however, just a thought, since I am currently a student, I have altered my lifestyle to minimize my expenses, from this phase, if and when I start earning, it will be easier for me to repay my loans ( considering I maintain or slightly increase my expenses). However, if I am given a grace period, I might slack of and start living comfortably, and then when I have to re-start paying my loans, it will be a difficult transition! However, this is just my personal opinion, and agree, that we can offer other flexible repaying options.
8. 3C Fund should work independently, with strategic partnerships with all three- public sector, private and communities!

Spam
Photo of Karen Sorensen
Team

Hi Jaskeerat-- This is a really cool idea. I could not help but think about programs they have in parts of Africa for women entrepreneurs when reading 3CFund. The concept is a group of village women decide who has the best "idea". That "idea" receives a loan, to purchase what is needed for the "idea" to become a business. The business must repay the loan back to the community, then the community will decide the next "idea" to fund. An example would be a women would like to purchase a sheep to make cheese, she purchases the sheep, and starts her cheese making business. Over time she pays back the loan to the community from the revenues she makes from making cheese, and the cycle starts again. It has been successful in these communities, since the women are extremely motivated to payback the loan. The user experience charts rock! Really a great job-- good luck--- Karen

Spam
Photo of Jaskeerat Bedi
Team

Jim, Joel, Shane,
Thank you for your great inputs, they have really got me thinking more deeply about this concept. I have just begun updating some basic service model sketches about how 3CF should work, however, what from your comments and the over all direction of this challenge, I think it will be great if a community program like 3C Fund should be a collaborative project within a financial organization like UBS. A collaborative project like this is a mutually beneficial project for both the organizations, which I have tried explaining in the visuals. It will be great if I could get your feedback on them! 
Also, coming up next, I will be updating more sketches on the other 2 parts of the project, that is ways and strategies through which we make sure that the students who are selected to receive this fund, become responsible members who repay their dues, in time. Alternatively, what happens to students who drop out? or defaulters? Of course, with the having the direction of private and public scholarship funds, we can assume that some amount of defaulters will be covered, however, a major component & critical success of this program falls in selecting responsible students, thus minimizing defaulters. Any inputs in that direction will be of great help. One of the directions that I was thinking, was using strategies like rewarding/ acknowledging professionals who repay their dues.

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I really like this concept of collaboration between the financial institution like UBS and the communities/schools that are "close to the ground", close to the students and know them as people. The theme of mutual benefit across several stakeholders seems to be emerging (students, community, high schools, colleges, professionals, employers). And the theme of many different ways of strengthening chances of success (mentorship, building sense of responsibility, identifying talented motivated people, etc.) I'm seeing this as "lots of tools in the toolbox".
On the subject of minimizing chances of default, lots of good ideas... careful selection of students, mentorship, networking effects, choice of different payback schedules to suit different individuals. This all looks real good. One other factor that could help address the problem of defaults is the "Income Share Agreement" approach that the previously discussed web links cover. Instead of graduate having an obligation to pay back the exact amount they borrowed (plus interest), they pay back a fixed percentage of their income for a fixed number of years. That approach manages risk of inability to pay back by spreading the risk across an entire population of people participating in the program. (Most people won't abuse the system, because few people would choose to be poor just to avoid paying off a debt.) So the Income Share Agreement is a financial tool available for covering cases of individuals having bad luck and such. (It's a lot like the concept of insurance as a way of pooling risk.) But that tool requires the sophistication and resources of a major financial institution like UBS. Setting the percentage of income that the professional needs to pay into the fund and the number of years required for payback (to ensure viability of the program) is a hard problem. It requires good forecasting of expected earnings of professionals (and how those earnings are expected to change with time), and sophisticated computer models. The program would likely need to fine-tune the income percentage and/or the fixed length of payback for each entering freshman class, in order to keep the system viable and adjust for earlier forecast errors. This is a very challenging problem, but illustrates one of the contributions that the big financial institution "brings to the table". 
So I really like this emerging idea that there isn't just one "silver bullet" that fixes everything. Rather it's a combination of tools and techniques. That example of covering risks via the income share approach, and all the sophisticated modeling required, could be a major contribution from the financial institution. And your ideas for the various stakeholders strengthening chances of success nicely complement in ways that are outside the financial institution's domain of expertise.
I think your new visuals are great, and are conveying the story of how many components are contributing to chances of successful outcomes. And nicely showing the human side of the story. I look forward to seeing your additions to the other 2 parts.

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Hi Jaskeerat.
Congratulations on being selected for Refinement phase of Higher Ed challenge! I recently participated in the Refinement phase of the Healthy Lives Challenge, and the OpenIDEO team recommended that I reach out to you to offer any assistance or guidance I can.
I like your concept a lot, especially the very "human" side of your idea that plays out in phase III. Also the ties to community. Real people interacting, not just bits in an accounting database. The potential for the exchange of user stories and experiences.
My first impression is that this aspect of human connections is the big differentiator in what you've proposed, and could be what grabs the attention of the challenge sponsor, UBS. Shane has pointed out how your concept closely relates to the Pay-It-Forward model. Looking at ongoing Pay-It-Forward discussions (http://www.nacacnet.org/issues-action/LegislativeNews/Pages/Pay-It-Forward.aspx), I'm seeing both similarities and differences with your concept. In these existing discussions, the Pay-It-Forward model amounts to an "Income Share Agreement", where there is a contract to pay a fixed percentage of one's income after graduation for a fixed number of years, with no concept of a traditional loan’s outstanding debt balance.
This standard concept of an Income Share Agreement seems pretty close to your Phases I and II. But these existing Pay-It-Forward models are missing the human connections and community aspects of 3C’s phase III. (Might a major international provider of financial instruments and services like sponsor UBS see 3C favorably as a familiar “Income Share Agreement” financial instrument... but with that extra human dimension?)
As I’ve been looking over your proposal and readers’ comments, a concept that keeps echoing with me is “generosity”. The human dimension, and connections between professionals and students, and the community aspect all seem to suggest a powerful mechanism for making people feel more generosity. What do you think about the possibility of phase III mentorship concept being expanded to include a means for the professionals to make pay-it-forward contributions that are larger than their contractual obligations, should they so desire? One could then make the argument that the extra “human dimension” of 3C will result in a larger fund than would be raised with a pure Income Share Agreement model.
Another thing that really caught my attention was your care with privacy issues in Phase III, and the need for an opt-in approach.
Have you thought about creating a light-weight prototype and conducting trials with users (family, friends, co-workers) to test out a few aspects of your concept? Something simple enough that it’s feasible, given your time constraints.

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Jaskeerat,
Some thoughts on the “numbers” and how money flows: If working professional were able to pay off 1 year’s tuition for each year they work, then problem would be very simple: each professional could be paired, 1-to-1, with a student and support that student’s tuition for duration of their education. But it isn’t realistic to expect new graduates entering workforce to be able to pay one year’s tuition per year. This fact that a typical worker needs to pay their debt at a slower rate than the student needs to pay tuition has a number of implications: (i) the amount of seed money required to jump-start the process becomes larger as the rate of payback is made smaller; (ii) the system can still come to a self-sustaining steady state, after which time no more seed money is needed, but it takes longer to reach that equilibrium when average rate of payback becomes smaller; (iii) ratio of number of paying professionals to number of current students would generally not be 1-to-1. At any given time after equilibrium is reached, there would be more working professionals paying into fund than there are students drawing from fund. We can still think of this as cycle where the older generations of former students are supporting the current generation of students. But it’s a little more complicated than a 1-to-1 relationship. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but each student is conceptually supported by multiple working professionals; while each working professional, over the course of their payback cycle, is conceptually supporting multiple students.
I think that your concept of a cycle where former students support the tuition needs of current students is a valid concept; the accounting details just have some additional nuances. You might consider adding just a few sentences, as an “aside”, to the effect that a slower average rate of payback will mean a longer time for the system to become self-sustaining, and that the pool of paying professionals will likely be larger, at steady state, than the pool of current students.
Here’s how I visualize money flow for simple case where total cost of an individual’s education is C and they pay back the debt over a period of N years, and there is no inflation. Each year the professional pays back C/N into the fund. (To keep model simple, imagine that each year only one student enters the freshman class.) Imagine 2 queues of people: a queue of students with 4 slots (one for each year of college); and a queue of working professionals with N slots. For N=10, the two queues would look like:
[1|2|3|4]      [1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10]
Each year a freshman enters left queue, and a year later they move one slot to the right. After 4 years, the student graduates, leaves the left queue, and enters the right queue as a working professional. Each year in the right queue, they pay C/N (in this case C/10) into the fund, then move one slot to the right. After N years, they have paid the full tuition, C, into the fund, and they exit the right queue, having paid off the debt in full. Once the right queue becomes fully populated, the system will reach a self-sustaining equilibrium. Each year thereafter, each professional in the right queue will contribute C/N to the fund, so all N professionals in the queue will contribute a total of C to the fund, which is an entire tuition’s worth... enough to exactly pay for each of the 4 current students’ yearly tuition. (Of course, in reality, there could be thousands of students entering each freshman class. Just imagine 1 pair of queues for each entering freshman.) Visualizing the process in terms of those 2 queues, it’s pretty easy to see that in year (N + 4) after kick-off of the program the queues will become filled and the system will have reached a self-sustaining equilibrium (after which no more seed money is needed.) It’s also easy to see that, at steady-state equilibrium, there is a pool of N paying professionals for each 4 students. After working through the math, one finds that the total amount of seed money (per entering freshman student) needed to get from kick-off to the self-sustaining state is C(2 + N/2). So if N is 10, a fund of 7C in seed money will be needed to reach self-sustaining state (per entering freshman). The entire fund of seed money does not need to be raised in advance; funds can be raised while the process is in motion. The seed money needed each year (per entering freshman) ramps up from C/4 the first year to a peak of C the 4th year, then falls linearly to 0 over the next N years as students graduate and enter the pool of payers.
After going through this level of detailed analysis, my feeling is that your intuitions on the concept of a funding cycle are sound. There are some additional nuances that come out of the analysis; but nothing that invalidates the basic concept.

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Jaskeerat, Shane,

As discussed in previous comments, my feeling is that the key differentiator of 3C is the human dimension and connections that come out in Phase III, such as mentorship. This is what I believe sets 3C apart from the cold world of “financial instruments”, whether they be conventional loans or the recent “Income Share Agreement” concepts. And I think this is what can potentially grab the attention of the sponsor UBS or whoever else you pitch this to. These human dimensions come out briefly in the Phase III paragraph and in the graphic. There is also lots of great further development of the human dimension concepts in the comment discussions. My feeling is that the Phase III discussion needs to be expanded in the main body of the proposal to further develop the human connection aspect of the pitch. For example, ideas like instilling a sense of responsibility and generosity across generations that come out in the comments discussion could be developed further in main body of proposal.


I’m also thinking that if these human dimensions really are what sets this proposal apart, that point needs to come out very early in the proposal. The current one-sentence summary of the concept that follows the proposal title, in my opinion, is not bringing out that human aspect. Maybe try to think as if you are an advertising copywriter? How could you quickly grab the attention of the sponsor and others and let them know this is more than a conventional financial instrument? Maybe something along the lines, “Putting a human face on pay-it-forward funding of higher education through...”.

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Hi Jaskeerat,
FYI, just want to share an interesting and comprehensive review that may help put this contest in perspective: "Harnessing the Power of Information Technology: Open Business Models in Higher Education." http://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/3/harnessing-the-power-of-information-technology-open-business-models-in-higher-education

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Welcome to the refinement phase Jaskeerat! We love how your idea leverages the power of bonds within local communities to tackle the challenge of affordable education in a unique way. We’re also intrigued by the different scales at which 3C to Education can operate.

In going forward, we’re looking forward to how you might develop the business model and user journey of this idea. In particular, we’re curious to learn more about how this idea can help more 1st generation college students graduate. The notion of peer mentors has the potential to create a support network for 1st gen students who may have a difficult time adjusting to the college environment. We’d also love to learn more about the different plans that 3C to Education might provide to students based on their unique financial needs and their ability to contribute back. For example, in addition to full tuition coverage can students also opt in to be partially financially supported for only what they need? What type of tiered pay-back plans might be available for students with different income levels after graduation? Can students pay back the community pool via alternative ways other than income? Also, which stakeholders might provide the starter funds during the initial years of 3C before the first class of students are able to graduate?

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

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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Hi Jaskeerat! Alex here from Path to Pitching, good start! I think this is a really cool concept. Are you interested in potentially pitching to our accelerator partners? To get your idea pitch ready you'll need to get out in the community and talk to your users to validate your problem and customers. Once you've done that start prototyping as soon as possible.

Learn more about the Path to Pitching: http://bit.ly/1HzPkeV
Check out our Human Centered Milestones, we created them to help you develop your idea: http://bit.ly/1N6hgbQ

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Thanks for your message Alexandra Alden I am interested in pitching the idea forward, however am unsure about the time commitment. It will be helpful to connect with other contributors who are thinking in the similar space of 'Better Together' and connect to strategize how to proceed further on milestones. Does OpenIdeo offer such avenues?

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You could try our LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8401461
Or you can look for other ideas in the Better Together category and leave a comment on their idea. 

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Hi Jaskeerat Bedi ,
Great idea (and great visuals!)
How might you guarantee employment (and certain salary level) for each graduate to ensure s/he's able to pay it forward to another student? 

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hi Kellie Marks 
Thanks for your comments. You have raised a very pertinent question. I believe there can be 2 ways to ensure that graduate students are guaranteed employment. One is by approaching 'mentors' and building networks through them. If you see in the visuals, each beneficiary (assuming that at least some students get a job) has to offer mentorship other than paying back. So, students who might find it challenging to find employment, can always reach through this pool.
The second strategy might be to involve universities to take active part in the career path of these selected students, as, we assume that these are somewhat high potential students, who were recommended by the community schools to begin with. Also as Joel Gingery suggested, maybe involving local community businesses might also create additional opportunities for student employment.. 
However, as I mentioned, these strategies might have some loop holes that can needs to be fine tuned further. Any ideas from your side will be highly appreciated.

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Hey Jaskeerat Bedi -

My concern with Option #1 is that graduates could very well end up in a job that requires long hours and offers low pay (as is the case for many entry level jobs). A graduate in that situation wouldn't have the extra cash to pay it forward, and wouldn't have the time to fulfill a mentorship.

This also reminds me of some stats The Atlantic published regarding the financial burden placed on Millennials (especially minority Millennials) by their families:

"...even though black and Hispanic Millennials are less likely to receive financial support from parents, their parents are more likely than white parents to expect their kids to help financially support them later on. According to the Clark poll, upward of 80% of black parents and 70% of Hispanic parents expect to be supported. And most studies show that a primary reason why people of color are unable to save as adults is because they give financial support to close family." Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/gifts-debts-inheritances/417423/

As a result, it could be challenging for these Millennials to afford an additional monthly expense once they've graduated.  

Option #2 seems more viable, especially since colleges have the cash required to get this cycle going. Also, this reminds me of an "affordable college innovation" suggestion someone recently posted on Medium:

"Make colleges responsible for loan defaults. Right now, colleges charge enormous tuitions, but students must assume all the responsibility when their educations don’t pay off in the marketplace and they can’t pay back all of their loans. Policymakers should require colleges that accept federally-backed student loans to assume some of this responsibility and pay taxpayers back for a percentage of those defaulted loans. Both students and colleges having skin in the game will lead to more responsible decisions." 
Source: https://medium.com/@CRN/3-innovations-to-make-college-more-affordable-e5a86d800d29

Something like that might be worth incorporating into your plan?

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Jaskeerat, this is an interesting idea! I'm not sure I completely understand one aspect: when the student becomes a working professional and begins to 'pay back' their tuition by contributing a portion of their salary to other students, are they paying less in total? Or are they paying back their entire tuition cost? 

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Hi @Rob Han, Great question! Honestly, during our brainstorming session at Cornell, where this idea initially germinated, we had not given much thought to figuring out what % of salary would be taken as payback, or for how long. The broader idea was that to begin with, the private or state funds will provide scholarships for the first batch of students, who then after becoming working professionals cover the entire tuition cost of an anonymous student. These initial funders can also be members from local community as Joel Gingery  suggested. Other than that Shane Zhao also shared an incredible initiative https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/research/the-idea-of-paying-it-forward
I am really curious to see what kind of economic model would they execute for this initiative. 

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Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

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Hi Jaskeerat,
Nice!  I like the way the process keeps people connected, committed and responsive to their community by requiring tuition payback to the program and by the option to mentor younger students.   Do you think the program would be as effective if the program expenses were paid by local businesses and/or government? If they were supported by profits from a community-owned business, for example a laundry that supplied all the bed linens, etc., to a local hospital or hotel?   On the education side, is there something the educational institutions might be willing to do that would affect costs or improve educational outcomes?  E.g. maybe such as tracking high school graduates in this program initially to a local community college with 'free' tuition?

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Hi Joel Gingery 
Thanks for your comment. I think it is a great idea to also channelize the community college free education system into this program. That ways, the overall fee will dramatically decrease to half. Also your idea of involving local for profit businesses also sounds interesting. The community can offer networking support to these businesses in return.

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Nice one Jaskeerat! Check out the Pay it Forward model that's currently being piloted in Oregon: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/higher-ed/research/the-idea-of-paying-it-forward Perhaps there might be opportunities to build on this:T