University fees were first introduced through the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, which set university fees at £1000 per year. Since then, the price to attend university has consistently increased, currently being capped at £9,250 for each academic year, making it the highest in Europe.


The UK’s leading insurance provider Aviva produced the report Generation Regret, which found that 33 per cent of millennials feel that they have to carry more of a financial burden for higher education than older generations. It also found that 37 per cent of millennials regret going to university, due to the debt they face after leaving.

In order to relieve some of the financial burden students suffer, Unite Students is offering £9,250 to one student who can successfully complete the hunt. This consists of setting off on a virtual tour on the internet using a series of clues, starting on the Hunt’s specially created website.

Unite Students was established almost three decades ago and is the UK’s largest purpose-built student accommodation provider, welcoming 50,000 students each year to set up their new home with them. Unite recognises that the better prepared young people are for that big leap to university, the more seamless the move will be, equipping them with the means to rise to the challenges of such a big life change.

The Hunt consists of over 15 stages, spreading across three different rounds, and extends from social media to well-known online platforms. At the end of each round, students will need to enter the code they’ve uncovered into the Scavenger Hunt website, at which point they will have completed a round and be given the next clue.

The full hunt will commence from the 8th of August and students will have until the 5th of September to make it to the final stage. Once a student completes all three stages, they will be entered into a prize draw to win the year’s tuition fees. The winner will be announced on the 12th of September.

Entrants must be 17 years of age or above, and have a place secured at a UK university for the coming academic year.

The hunt is part of Unite’s campaign titled ‘The Leap’, which intends to achieve conversation between teenagers and parents about the transition from school to university — as 61 per cent of applicants feel anxious about this. Initiating this type of conversations seeks to ensure that students’ expectations are more closely aligned to the reality of university life. For example, a YouthSight Poll for Unite Students found that:

‘while 80% of teenagers aged 16-19 are confident they can manage their money, 78% didn’t know the price of a pint of milk’.

John Blanshard, Chief Customer Officer at Unite Students, said:

‘Through years of extensive research and insight, we know the challenges involved in making the leap to university. We understand that this is a complex life moment not just for students but for parents too. We also know that the better prepared people can be for those challenges, the easier they’ll be able to meet them. That’s why this year, we’re incentivising our students to take part in our digital scavenger hunt; a fun way to engage with a variety of digital platforms, as part of The Leap campaign. They’ll be discovering different places where we provide useful information that will help support them as they prepare for this next big, exciting step in their lives’.

Students can begin the hunt here: https://scavengerhunt.unitestudents.com