Competition offers to pay tuition fees

A new website has launched a competition to win the full cost of a three year degree. The “once-in-a-lifetime” prize, worth £27,000, will cover the spiralling cost of tuition fees for any standard undergraduate course.

The competition, which costs £5 to enter, is said to be the first of its kind and is open to those on existing courses as well as prospective students.

It is being promoted by new experience website, which offers prizes “for less than the price of a glass of wine”.

A spokesperson for the site said the contest would enable the winner to enter higher education without being “burdened with debt for life”.

He said: “We sincerely hope that this once-in-a-lifetime competition will open the doors to higher education and will encourage more young people to think laterally about their future.

“Put simply, we believe it will allow one lucky person the chance to complete a university degree or equivalent without being burdened with debt for life.”

To win the prize, students must correctly “spot the ball” on an image with each entry costing £5. If two or more people guess correctly then a random draw will determine the winner. Entries close when all the “tickets” have been bought. The company hopes to make a profit from the competition. 8,456 tickets remain available at the time of writing and the competition went live in December and it is not open to under 18s.

The website offers similar competitions including one where people can enter for £2.50 to win a trip for two to the Singapore Grand Prix. A spokesperson insisted there is no risk of the company not being in business in three years time to pay the final fee instalment.

A second-year Somerville student said: “For the one student who gets the prize there are thousands of others who the company is taking good money off. It’s like a normal gamble. You’ll have a better chance of winning than the lottery but the chances are still pretty slim. I don’t have a problem with it but won’t be entering.”