About Us


In early 2014, Lester Lusher, a PHD candidate from UC Davis, developed a mechanism inspired by research from Behavioral Economics that would incentivize college students to get better grades in school. Upon sharing his research with a friend, Lester was encouraged to submit his research project to a local business idea competition, leading to the birth of CollegeBetter.

After finishing in first place at the competition, Lester teamed up with several professors from the Department of Economics and with Institutional Review Board approval, opened the first CollegeBetter pool in the Winter 2015 quarter at UC Davis. Of the 412 students surveyed in various Economics classes, 169 submitted applications to join the Winter 2015 CollegeBetter pool ($10 buy in with a goal of "raise my cumulative GPA by the end of the quarter"). 91 of those 169 applications were randomly selected to receive an invitation to officially join the pool and submit their $10, creating a pot size of $10*91 = $910. These subjects were more likely to raise their GPA compared to those who applied but were not invited to join. 51 of the 91 participants raised their cumulative GPAs, or about 56%. Winners took home $17.85, a 78.5% increase on the participants initial bet amount.

Now, we are allowing all UC Davis undergraduates the opportunity to participate in CollegeBetter. We will set up at least one pool for each major term at UC Davis (Summer Sessions, Fall, Winter, and Spring). Find out more about the individual team members below, and sign up for email alerts (one per quarter) by providing your email address on our home page.

Contact Us

Get in touch: support@collegebetter.com

Institutional Review Board at UC Davis: IRBAdmin@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

The Team

Lester Lusher


PhD student studying economics at UCDavis. His research interests center on behavioral economics and education. Loves teaching, and hopes to be a professor in the near future.

Nick Halliwell


Completed a Master’s in Data Science from Pompeu Fabra and a Bachelor’s in Economics from UC Davis.

Roger Pender


Graduated with a B.S. in Animal Biology in Spring 2014.

Rahman Raza


Fourth year Economics and Computer Science double major working on a few exciting projects. Sometimes he codes.

Kat Fukui


UCD '13 Alumni. Solving design problems at a startup in Berkeley. Loves to explore, learn new things, and play with cats.