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article imageUniversity of Cumbria first public university to accept bitcoin

By Ken Hanly     Jan 22, 2014 in Business
Lancaster - The University of Cumbria, a school in northwest England with several campuses, is the first public university in the world to begin experimenting with payment of fees for some course with bitcoins.
The University of Nicosia, a private university in Cyprus already is experimenting with bitcoin payment of tuition the end of 2013. Bitcoin is a digital online currency.
The University of Cumbria will initially accept the bitcoin payments for two courses whose subject matter is regarded as a complement to the mode of payment. One course is "Certificate of Achievement in Sustainable Exchange" and the other "Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership." Professor Jem Bendell, the director of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), said: “We believe in learning by doing, and so to help inform our courses on complementary currencies, we are trialling the acceptance of them.” The university said it was the first public university to experiment with bitcoin payments and was delighted to do so. However, the university also issued a statement advising students that they should use the bitcoin payment system only if they already have bitcoins or will have them donated to them. Because of the volatility of bitcoin values the university does not want the students to go out and buy bitcoins to pay their fees. The IFLAS claims to have specialist knowledge in the area of complementary currencies. A statement from IFLAS said: “There is currently much misunderstanding about complementary currencies, both misinformed criticism and superficial hype, which is a reason for our courses on the topic. The bitcoin unit may vary in value, and opinions differ on that value, yet the key innovation is the system it is based on” . The university will not hold on to the bitcoins it collects but convert them into pounds sterling through Bitpay to avoid exposure to the volatility of the value of bitcoins.
The private University of Nicosia, one of the largest English language universities in the Mediterranean area was the first in the world to accept bitcoin payments in November of 2013. The payment was allowed for a new Master of Science course in Digital Currency. The University has 5,000 students.
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