UMICH 2050

Idea: Make the University of Michigan the best public university in the world by 2050.

  • Replace Student Loans:
    • 0% Interest ISAs for All Students.
  • Reinvent Our Education:
    • Get Ready for the Future of Work Now.
This is already one of the greatest universities on Earth. Let’s make it even better.

Problem: There is a higher education bubble in the United States.

  • College tuition has risen over 150% in the last twenty years.
    • Tuition is the #1 fastest growing consumer expense in America.
    • Tuition is growing over three times faster than inflation.
  • Colleges are not preparing graduates for modern careers.
    • Many graduates get stuck paying off their student loan debt for a decade or more.

Why Now? Cheap debt won’t last forever.

  • Most 18 year olds can’t get a $50K loan to start a business.
    • But they can easily get $200K+ in student loans to earn a degree worth less than that business.
  • This cheap student loan debt is inflating the higher education bubble.
    • What happens when banks and/or governments can no longer service this debt?
No consumer good or service is increasing in price faster than college tuition. Chart via Our World in Data.

Solution #1: ISAs for Every Student.

  • Replace student loans with 0% interest ISAs.
    • Only make payments if you have a $70K+ annual salary.
    • Forgiven after 7 years no matter what.

Solution #2: Reinvent the best universities to maximize their value to students.

  • Less Theory. More Action.
    • Business students launch startups and earn investments from the university.
    • Government students intern with political leaders and work on real campaigns.
    • Social work students volunteer for nonprofits and start new philanthropic projects.
  • More 1:1 Mentorship.
    • Help students figure out what they really want to do after college.
    • Give every student a personal connection to the university.

Future: Let anyone in the world take UMICH classes online.

  • Open admissions for anyone who is willing to do the work.
  • What are the most valuable things that students could learn and do in four years or less?

UMICH 2050 is on my list of solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems.

  • This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & CEO of Utopic, his startup studio. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.