In 2016, NYU’s 16th President, Andrew Hamilton, made clear that he would carry forward a commitment to make NYU more affordable for more students. As part of that commitment, President Hamilton established the Affordability Steering Committee and the Affordability Working Group to create a structure for engagement and consultation across the NYU community. Knowing that they had a wealth of knowledge within their campus network, the steering committee and the working group launched a crowdsourcing campaign to their students asking for ways to reduce costs that would help the President meet his commitment. Not only did they get tons of great ideas that they started implementing right away – they predicted that those ideas alone would be able to save students millions of dollars.
One of the great things about crowdsourcing ideas, however, is that it is not just an ideation opportunity, but it also help you conduct a new form of market research from which themes emerge. When NYU ran their campaign they noticed the following groups of ideas that offered opportunities for student savings:
- Lower direct costs: this means costs that go directly to students like textbooks, meal planning, etc. Finding ways to reduce costs here (like providing more secondhand text books) is a great start to reducing out-of-pocket costs for students.
- New resources: these new resources might be financial aid or grant opportunities for different groups of students based on need, background, or otherwise.
- Savings: meaning administrative and IT savings opportunities.
- Access: there might be other smaller scale funding opportunities (like micro-scholarships), so both identifying and socializing these opportunities could potentially save students money, as well.
- Financial Education: sometimes offering financial education will help students make better decisions which will not just benefit them in their time at NYU but throughout their adult lives.
- Local Benefits: New York can be an expensive city, finding ways to have the local environment lower costs and encourage matriculation benefits students and the city.
- Time to Degree: some students want to fast track their education and that decreases costs for everyone. Offering new ways to accelerate the process is a great way to source new savings opportunities.