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The Game of Student Survival


‘Student Survivor', an online game that provides key information about student finances, has been accessed by more than two million people since its launch in April 2005.

It has also earned the companies behind it a Regional National Training Award.

The game, which explains bursaries, loans, grants and repayment thresholds, is aimed at encouraging more students from low-income backgrounds, who might otherwise be put off by fees and loans, to sign up for higher education.

The partners behind the game are the charity UNIAID, e-learning company Epic, Rubbaglove which developed the Student Calculator and Kerb which conceived and produced the Student Survivor project.

Alistair Lomax, chief executive of UNIAID, said: “Despite significant Government investment, there has been no noticeable shift in the social classification within higher education (HE) for 30 years.

“There is a whole generation affected by the fear, confusion and misunderstanding of a burden of cost which, for the first time in England, would be upon their shoulders.”

Recent research revealed that 84% of school leavers believe student debt deters entry into HE, with concern greatest among those from low income or single parent families.

“An online, interactive role play and scenario-based approach to learning was chosen as this would give students an engaging experience of the realities and challenges of university life.” said Lomax.

“The fact that the learning materials were competing for 16-19 year olds’ free time was taken into account across the board in the design, i.e. concept, language, interface, look and feel, use of rewards, etc.”

The game aims to give young people with little or no idea about the challenges of independent living to rehearse and prepare in a safe environment.

Lomax added: “Although surveying a captive audience within a school will never be an exact representation of the sort of online audience you get through viral marketing, this approach to evaluation did show that 97% of those asked would be more likely to go to university as a result of the training.”


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