2. Blockchain’s Financial Implications and Student debt

While most of us likely wouldn’t know how to go about making a transaction using bitcoin, it’s actually more common than we think. In fact, fifteen percent of banks are expected to be using blockchain in 2017, and by 2020, this forecast jumps to sixty-six percent, according to a report from IBM.

So how could blockchain influence student finances? For starters, financial aid and grants could be tied to student success. Instead of students and universities having to send over regular progress reports on a recipient’s performance, automatic updates to a student’s digital record would ensure that benchmarks were being met–and open up new opportunities for institutions looking to offer merit-based grants. Overall, the technology could also help provide a better way of centrally managing scholarship and government financial aid.

Electronic tuition payments and money transfers could also simplify the tuition process. This is an especially appealing option for international students, as bitcoin’s interchangeable nature and lack of special fees for international transfers makes it a simpler and more cost-effective payment method.

While only a couple schools have adopted the technology so far, with the currency’s growing acceptance among banks worldwide, it’s likely that these numbers will increase in coming years.

Blockchain is More Than Just Hype

While we are still very much in the early days of blockchain adoption, there’s no doubt that the technology is making waves across many industries. Whether it be the acceptance of bitcoin at higher ed institutions or the development of blockchain-enabled credentialing, changes are likely coming to the higher ed landscape.

These are just a few tangible examples of blockchain’s potential and as the technology gains mainstream adoption, additional use cases are likely to present themselves–and there is no telling what other changes the higher ed space could learn from the bitcoin/blockchain movement.

I welcome further discussion on the topic. What other changes are you expecting or preparing for at your institution?

About the Author:

Jami Morshed is the vice president of global higher education at Unit4. His responsibilities include the Unit4 Global Center of Excellence, which helps institutions prepare for the future through scalable and comprehensive software solutions that streamline and modernize core business processes while eliminating the burden of managing ever-changing technology.


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