UCCS students can earn tuition money using new app

Published: Oct. 2, 2019 at 7:04 AM MDT
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Students at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs can now earn money toward their tuition by doing everyday activities.

The campus started using a new app called PIPs, which stands for "positive impact points."

“This is the first year that UCCS has rolled out this program, and so far, we’re seeing a lot of success with it,” said Brandon Bishop, the applied learning and engagement manager for the school’s Office of Sustainability.

Students can earn points for filling up their water bottles, going to the gym, riding the bus, attending certain events on campus, volunteering and recycling.

At some spots around campus, like near the water fountains, there are QR codes students can scan to earn points. Each point equals about 1 cent.

“They can fill up a water bottle up to three times a day. That’s 20 points each time. So a student can get 60 cents,” Bishop said. “They can then redeem that for food, for groceries, for coffee, for retail items, or they can save that up and apply it toward scholarship.”

If students save their points for tuition money, their reward is matched 3:1.

“So if a student gets a $100 scholarship off their actions, it’ll actually become $300 based upon the match,” Bishop said.

It would take about 10,000 points to earn a $100 scholarship.

Students can also donate their points to charity.

“We want to show students how easy those actions are and how much positive impact that they can have,” Bishop said.

Students who use the app say their points are adding up fast.

“For me, using it just for like a week or two now, I’ve already gotten like $4 or $5 worth of PIPs already, and that’s just from refilling my water bottle three times a day,” said Jaymee Collins.

Bishop said CU-Boulder was the pilot campus for the app. UCCS is the second school in the country to roll it out.

“We are starting to see this program be picked up by other institutions nationwide, so it’s really nice to be at the forefront here at this campus,” Bishop said. “I think we are really setting the stage to be an institution that is behind our students and here to really support them through their process here.”

The goal of the app is to encourage students to get involved on campus and lead healthy lives.

“We want them to be engaged and have healthy lifestyles right here at the start because we are forming future citizens and healthy lifestyles,” Bishop said. “If we can get them engaged, and we can get them working hard on volunteering and doing those types of things, we’re hopeful that they’ll incorporate that into their regular behavior, and it will make them much more successful.”