Draper University is not your average college. In fact, if your university years are over, it’s probably not like any institute of higher education that you have ever heard of.
Tim Draper, a well-known venture capitalist and managing director of the VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, founded the school. (Check out Draper’s bio on the firm’s website, and you’ll find – in addition to the usual curriculum vitae details – a picture of Draper riding some sort of dual horned animal statue.)
Officially known as Draper University of Heroes, the school’s goal is to educate the world’s next generation of entrepreneurs. In determining admissions criteria for incoming students, the university doesn’t look at transcripts or SAT scores. It does look at an application form, and it is clearly trying to determine what your appetite for risk-taking as an entrepreneur really is as a condition of admission.
Is it any wonder then, that Draper, based in Silicon Valley, is the first school to accept fees for tuition in bitcoins? Last week, the school announced it would be the first educational institution accepting them. Naturally, CoinDesk wanted to learn more, so we contacted the school.
“So far, we have one student in our summer class paying his tuition in bitcoin,” says Carol Lo, a representative for Draper. “I hope that more follow in the future.”
Lo added, “We are also opening a co-working space/incubator across the street from Draper University, and we will accept bitcoin for payment there too.”
Boost VC, a VC firm started by Tim Draper’s son, Adam, has committed to funding a number of Bitcoin-related startups, so opening an incubator nearby Draper that accepts BTC makes sense.
The higher education atmosphere in the United States is ripe for transition. With soaring tuition costs leaving many graduates with large amounts of student loan debt and weak job skills, some – Draper among them – are challenging the idea of the traditional four-year university.
Draper certainly has long-term hopes for digital currencies. When asked what the school plans to do with its bitcoin holdings, Lo said it’s saving, not spending, them: “We are holding the bitcoins because we expect it to appreciate.”
What do you think about Draper’s decision to accept bitcoins for tuition? Do you think that college students should be exposed to math-based currencies in their studies?