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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

Dear Obua,

It is really great to hear that the government and community are so interested in improving access to clean water!   My questions often related to sustainability / increasing local capacity and this one is no different:

What do you think the water situation in the slums look like 10 years from now?  My naive guess is that the population of the slums will continue increase, further increasing the demand for clean water.  This means that the pipes / pumps you install today will not be sufficient for the population 10 years down the road.  I think your proposal does a good job of addressing the immediate short term need, but I wonder if there is a way to make it so the problem can be fixed in the long term.  To do that, I think the fundamental problem needs to be identified and then addressed (certainly easier said than done but, again, I have a one-track mind when it comes to sustainability :-) ).  For example, if the reason it costs so much money to lay the pipes down is because of the labor costs associated with doing it, one could imagine partnering with the National Water and Sewage Corporation to increase the number of people capable of performing the job (thereby driving down labor costs). Also, it sounds like your group has the support of the government so perhaps they would be willing to support a training program, particularly if you could make the business case that it's cheaper than trying to pay for the current NWSC structure to lay down much needed pipes.  In any case, best of luck!

Sincerely,
pascale

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Pascale commented on Long Term Education Insurance

Hi Jim,

I love hearing about new ideas to increase access to education and yours is a new one for me!  I had a couple of questions:

 (1) I think your idea is the most attractive when it negotiates a lower-than-market-place tuition rate for people who buy the insurance.  That said, I wondering what you thought about the likelihood of (a)  a 'college management organization' to be perceived as a legitimate representative of the students that is negotiating on behalf of and (b) for a university/college to commit to a tuition rate more than  the normal 2-3 years out (which I think is required for the system to work).   Thoughts?

(2)  Have you done the calculation for per year of education coverage assuming the parents invested the same $250/month in an index fund?