Jim, I really like your concept but how do you get market it to parents? A couple of thoughts. My assumption is that if this is designed as a term policy, it will be maxed out at 18 years of age which is when college begins? After that date, parents would not be required to contribute anything more and the student's tuition will be paid for 4-5 years? Does that include housing or just tuition? Families will be able to enter at any grade or will they have to be enrolled by the 8th grade or prior to start of high school? This would present a shorter window for savings, plus higher premiums for the parents but for many of them, they and their child begin to recognize that college is on the horizon. The downside of term is that the money is lost at the end of said term and it will not be tax deductible for the parent. As a selling point, many term policies offer conversion to a whole life policy which is priced higher but also has a payout. Normally it is at the 10-year mark of the term policy. Branding should be open to all students. I think the concept will have broad appeal beyond 1stGen if you can price it under $100 per month. Once you start going above that, it becomes a real cash flow concern. If you have not, take a look at insurers like NY Life that have programs for kids; parents can pay on monthly, every 6-months or annual basis for a death benefit with a maximum payout of $25k. Final thought is that maybe you can form a partnership with charter schools, they are easier to access and have more control. They may not be able to endorse the product initially but you may find them more willing to allow you an opportunity to give presentations to parents with children who just starting the educational journey.
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.