The University of Nicosia in Cyprus has announced that it will accept bitcoin for the payment of tuition and other fees.
The university, also known as UNic, is not only the first accredited university in the world to accept bitcoin from its students, but is also launching a Master of Science degree in Digital Currency in Spring 2014.
The university’s Chief Financial Officer believes in the virtues of bitcoin, stating:
“We are acutely aware that digital currency is an inevitable technical development that will lead to significant innovation in online commerce, financial systems, international payments and remittances and global economic development.”
When questioned about its decision in light of bitcoin’s recent volatility, a university spokesperson told GeekWire: “The intention of this initiative is to ease transmission difficulties for certain students and to build our own practical knowledge about this field, not to engage in currency speculation.”
Founded in 1980, the University of Nicosia is the largest private university in Cyprus, with campuses across three of its cities and over 8,500 students in total across its affiliated institutions. It is also one of the largest universities in the Mediterranean region of Europe.
UNic also plans to lobby the Cypriot Government for a framework to develop Cyprus into a hub for bitcoin exchange, trading and banking.
The bitcoin price saw a massive surge to $266 in April during the financial crisis in Cyprus. In the past few weeks, the price has soared to even greater highs, and remains high despite some recent fluctuations.
UNic may be the first accredited university to accept bitcoin, but other educational services have already embraced the digital currency.
Earlier in the year Khan Academy launched a series of educational bitcoin videos and announced it is accepting donations in bitcoin. Draper ‘entrepreneur heroes’ University, a VC-founded school for entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley, also has a tuition programme that accepts bitcoin.