Private School Goes Digital

On June 2017, Marco Ciocca, co-founder of Montessori Schools in New York City, announced the introduction of Bitcoins as a form of tuition payment. This move gives the Bitcoin parents more flexibility when it comes to paying their children’s tuition. Furthermore, the steps go hand in hand with the philosophy that Italian educator, Maria Montessori, promotes. The Montessori education is about independence and freedom within limits, and the school believes this approach should also be taken when it comes to tuition.

Ciocca stated to the Town and Country: “We looked at the pros and cons of accepting it and decided that now is probably a good time. […] It happens to be that we’re the first pre-kindergarten school to accept it as a form of payment.” It is worth noting that the New York City Montessori Schools cost $30,950 for the day program in either of its both locations, SOHO or Flatiron. So it makes sense to give this new opportunity to parents.

Although, Ciocca further explained to the Town and Country that, so far, only a handful of folks have used the option to pay with Bitcoin. When asked about the negative connotations associated with Bitcoin, Ciocca explained that is an old stigma that the cryptocurrency carries. Furthermore, he added that Montessori Schools are wholesome institutions that deal with children. Ergo, the school is further proof that Bitcoin is not as evil as it, sometimes, portrait by the media.

Not everyone seems to agree with this plan. Business Insider columnist, Sara Silverstein, recently wrote an article detailed how she had the option to pay for her daughter’s daycare by using the cryptocurrency. The article mostly criticised the school for taking advantage of the surging Bitcoin price. Silverstein explains in her article: “I just got a message from the school informing me that they are pleased to announce that they will now be accepting bitcoins for tuition payments. If I chose to take them up on their offer, I would be paying them about nine and a half bitcoins at the current price. If I had paid my bill in bitcoins a month ago, it would have cost over 17 bitcoins. Two months ago I would have owed them nearly 24 coins.” The price of Bitcoin rose by 30% the week before Montessori Schools decided to accept Bitcoin payment.

Silverstein’s criticism is fair, but it does not account for the reality that more people are using Bitcoin in their daily lives already. Indian Mountain School (IMS), is an independent private school located in Connecticut. The school is known for accepting Bitcoin during fundraising activities. Mark A. Devy, IMS headmaster, added: “(This is) an inventive way to bring this out-of-the-box idea home to our students.”

Bitcoin will be used as a form of payment more often by educational institutions. It is normal for some people to be a little sceptic when a new kind of payment is added. However, Bitcoin is here to stay, and this is just the first step towards a higher integration between the coin and the goods and services providers.

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