Project Description

Education, Finance

CommunityAmerica College Planning

Innovation and Design Thinking in FinTech.

Community America


CommunityAmerica came to Useagility with an idea for an innovative calculator to make the college planning process easier for students and their families. Five months later, with Useagility’s research and design help, they launched the award-winning College Cost Calculator.


Making College Planning Easier By Gaining Users’ Insights

CommunityAmerica and Useagility prioritized gathering user feedback throughout the process of creating the calculator. This fast and iterative process included formative user research, design concepts, wireframes, prototypes, and collaborative design iterations as the team learned what worked, and what flopped. The company’s investment in a Teen Advisory Council played a critical role in identifying the opportunity and shaping the solution with direct input from teens and their families who are themselves preparing to pay for college.


“When we started, we really didn’t know what we’d end up building – if anything. The most important part of the process was making sure we were solving the right problem and to fail fast with prototypes, giving us the opportunity to correct course along the way and ensure our technology investment would get business results. Useagility has always placed design thinking and a user-centered approach at the core of their technology design and innovation process, which is why we rely on them as a research and design partner.”

Anita Newton, Chief Innovation Officer


Creating Change With User Experience Design – And Getting Results

The team’s hard work paid impressive dividends. In the first few months since launching the calculator on their site, referrals to CommunityAmerica’s college planning practice increased dramatically. Online referrals increased six-fold in the first two months. Even better, referrals more than doubled from the credit union’s branch offices.

As the first and only college cost calculator that compares the true cost of college for 6,000+ schools in a single click, CommunityAmerica changed the playing field for innovation in the FinTech industry.

Listening to their users and designing collaboratively worked. The calculator’s success has helped move the College and Career section of the web site to one of the most trafficked areas of CommunityAmerica’s website.

Final Design

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