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How an App Helps Low-Income Students by Turning College Life Into a Game

Studying in the library, getting help from a tutor, even cheering at a college football game — all of those activities carry a little extra reward for low-income students at Ball State University.

The university is in its second year of offering a mobile application called “Ball State Achievements,” designed for students who come to Ball State on federal Pell Grants. The app essentially gamifies their college experience; they earn points for engaging in specific aspects of campus life, which can then be cashed in to purchase items in the university’s bookstore or on-campus Starbucks. There is also a leaderboard within the app where the students can compete to earn the most points.