Just as Las Vegas sports books set odds on football games, Ultrinsic will pay you top dollar for A’s, a little less for the more likely outcome of a B average or better, and so on. You can also wager you’ll fail a class by buying what Ultrinsic calls “grade insurance.”
Online gambling is illegal, but Ultrinsic argues this isn’t a game of chance: Students bet only on themselves and they have a great deal of control over the outcome.
A student registers, uploads his or her schedule and gives Ultrinsic access to official school records. The New York-based site then calculates odds based on the student’s college history and any information it can dig up on the difficulty of each class, the topic and other factors. The student decides how much to wager up to a cap that starts at $25 and increases with use.
. . . Ultrinsic saves its longest shots for fresh-faced high school graduates: If you wager $20 that you’ll finish college with a 4.0 GPA and follow through, you’ll get $2,000 when you graduate.
Motivating students to meet their goals doesn’t seem like much of a business model. Frankly, I don’t see how Ultrinsic can win, especially in an era of grade inflation. Good students know how much effort is needed to get an A. As for “grade insurance,” a student who thinks he’s going to fail a class would save more money by not taking it in the first place.