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University Pays Tuition for Life with Ultimate Scholarship

Cardiff University.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

December 09, 2011

University Pays Tuition for Life with Ultimate Scholarship
Who can forget that iconic moment in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory when Charlie opens his Wonka Bar to find the last, remaining Golden Ticket? Or, from the film, the tune “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” – the celebratory song led by Charlie’s grandfather who hasn’t gotten out of bed in 20 years? These moments are providing a great comparison to the new initiative announced by Cardiff University in Wales this week. On Tuesday, the University announced that it would be giving away one scholarship to a student who would have the ability to gain free tuition from the school for life, according to Cardiff University. And that’s not just a Bachelor’s degree – the University will award the winner with Master’s and PhD degrees as well as Professional Development courses for as long as the student lives. But the comparisons to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory don’t stop there. The requirements for the scholarship are eerily similar to those presented to the contestants in Roald Dahl’s famous novel and the resulting film.

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Cardiff University states that “students must undertake a series of tough challenges, which will increase in difficulty, between now and spring 2012. The first series will take place online, while the final will bring the best students to Cardiff University for a live challenge.” The press release adds that “the University will be looking for a student with outstanding passion, commitment and intelligence, reflecting its reputation as one of the UK’s leading academic institutions.”
The Ultimate Scholarship is meant to incite interest around Cardiff’s new campaign to engage potential and current students through the use of digital and social media. But not everyone is convinced. In fact, many in the higher education sphere think the Ultimate Scholarship is just a scheme to attract more students.

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Dr Philip Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Wales told Wales Online that the campaign “is a very sad indication of the state in which our higher education system finds itself that gimmicks like this have to be offered by our universities…I wonder where this will end – will we see the universities of Wales offering buy-one-get-one-free degrees?” Unfortunately, only students in the UK and EU are permitted to apply. However, seeing as this new initiative has generated a lot of buzz, it could be a scholarship phenomenon that catches on here in the States pretty soon. If an American university offered the chance to compete for an ultimate scholarship of sorts, would you apply?

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