University bets on Bitcoin as nationwide enrollment dips

San Diego State University is accepting donations in the form of Bitcoin and Ethereum via the California-based crypto exchange and bank called Kraken.

American universities have suffered financially in recent years due to decreased enrollment and the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Diego State University is now accepting donations in the form of Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

An anonymous donor has sent the school approximately $25,000 worth of Bitcoin, according to the SDSU NewsCenter.

“The SDSU auxiliary will keep almost all of the contribution in the form of Bitcoin instead of immediately converting it all to cash as many other universities have done,” the outlet reported. 

“If the value of bitcoin goes up, then this endowment could last forever,” David Fuhriman, the Chief Financial Officer of the school’s Campanile Foundation, told NewsCenter. “We believe over the long run that this could be a really good benefit to SDSU.”

[RELATED: Professor links Bitcoin to ‘far right’ nationalists. Expert Peter McCormack discusses why that might be wrong.]

This decision comes at a time when revenue from undergraduate enrollment is down significantly across the country. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that undergraduate enrollment is down 3.1% over the last year. 

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on higher education led the federal government to allocate almost $14 billion for university relief, including $29.4 million to San Diego State University alone. 

COVID-19 cost American higher education institutions approximately $183 billion in part due to enrollment decreases and tuition freezes, The Chronicle reported last year.

Both private and public universities raised tuition by over 2% from the 2020-2021 academic year to the current year, according to US News

In-state tuition at San Diego State University is currently $8,136 and out-of-state tuition is $20,016. 

[RELATED: REPORT: Public university presidents’ salaries, tuition hikes since Great Recession]

Campus Reform reported this month that William Patterson University has decided to lay off 100 full-time faculty over a three-year period, including tenured professors, with decreased enrollment considered a leading cause.

In 2014, King’s College, located in New York City, was the first accredited university to accept Bitcoin payments. The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) shortly followed suit. 

UPenn decided to use the popular crypto exchange called Coinbase for their transactions, while San Diego State University is using Kraken, a California-based exchange and bank.

Campus Reform has reached out to David Fuhriman and San Diego State University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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