Staff Editorial

Website allows students to gamble on their GPAs

Many places allow people to gamble on any number of different things — sports games, horse racing, even who is going to win Best Picture at the Oscars — but very rarely do you find a site willing to let you gamble on your college transcript.

Ultrinsic is a new website that lets you do just that; the company allows its visitors to wager what their grades will be in individual classes, an entire semester’s GPA, or even allow them to buy “grade insurance” that pays off if they make a bad grade in the class.

There’s a certain bluntness to the concept, but at first glance it seems pretty solid. Students can place bets on events where they have no control; why not let them bet on their own successes? The amount you can wager is capped at $20 a class (with a minimum of $5), so it’s not as if a person is running for their lives from debt collectors if they fail to make their wagered grade.

The company, which already allows 36 different college campuses to place their money where their report card is, just expanded, allowing students at UT-Austin, Texas Tech and Texas A&M to take part in the action. And the other members aren’t small, unknown institutions, either; Harvard, Duke and Columbia are all supported schools.

Ultrinsic states on its website that its name is derived from “an ULTerior motivation that produces [an] intRINSIC love of knowledge.” Whether or not they’re in it for the money, if someone bets on themselves and makes their goal, they get paid for it according to the website, students can make up to $2,000 a class for each $20 they invest.

With HISD contemplating giving Fifth graders money for achieving goals on the TAKS test (and already providing bonuses to the teachers who make it happen), it seems that education is beginning to start to pay off a bit earlier than most people expect it to. What remains to be seen is if this concept is any good in a realistic environment; is it moral to pay someone merely for making the right (or in some cases, wrong) grade? Only time will tell; until then, it sure does sound tempting to have a big check waiting for a pile of A’s.

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