Bentley to accept cryptocurrency for tuition payments

Bentley University has entered the cryptocurrency world, announcing this week that it will now accept the digital currency for tuition payments.

The announcement makes Bentley, a private university in Waltham with a focus on business, one of the first universities in the US to offer crypto as a payment option.

In partnership with crypto exchange platform Coinbase, Bentley will allow students to pay their tuition with any of three cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and stablecoin USD Coin. The university will also accept gifts and donations through these cryptocurrencies.

To defend against crypto’s price volatility, payments will automatically be exchanged into US dollars under Bentley’s agreement with Coinbase, a university spokesperson said. The university will work to prevent crypto scams through Coinbase, which uses “multi-factor authentication and other security measures to keep assets secure,” the spokesperson added.

“Bentley University is at the forefront in preparing business leaders with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the changing world economy,” said E. LaBrent Chrite, Bentley’s president, in a statement. “We’re proud to embrace this technology that our students are learning about, which will soon transform the global business landscape they’re about to enter.

The decision comes as a growing number of institutions are lending legitimacy to cryptocurrency as a form of payment or investment: Several universities including the University of Pennsylvania are already accept cryptocurrency for donations, and last week Fidelity Investments announced that it would be adding bitcoin to its 401(k) options for employers. King’s College in New York City became the first US school to accept bitcoin for tuition in 2014.

Bentley will offer a finance course this fall “focused on blockchain applications and decentralized finance,” according to its statement on Tuesday. The university is home to one of the few student-led blockchain groups in the country, the Bentley Blockchain Association.