To sign up for an account, students must share their schedules and transcripts with the website. Then, the gambling starts.
After deciding how well they expect to do in a course, students contribute money towards an “incentive,” while Ultrinsic coughs up the rest. If they get the grade they expected, then they win the full incentive. If not, they lose it all.
(And for cynics and underachievers among us, the website also offers grade insurance.)
President Jeremy Gelbart and CEO Steven Wolf argue that Ultrinsic isn’t an online gambling service, but rather, for investments.
“The students have 100 percent control over it, over how they do. Other people’s stuff you bet on—your own stuff you invest in,” Wolf told the Washington Post.
The co-founders, who recently graduated from college, also believe that the website encourages students to improve their grades.
“Students like learning, but it’s work,” Gelbart told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “People want to see an immediate payoff for that hard work.”
Although the University Code of Conduct does not explicitly mention gambling, Director of Media Relations Andy Pino wrote in an email, “The university will handle any issues that may arise through our policies as appropriate.”