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Coconuts for college: This Bali school is accepting coconuts as tuition. Here’s why

The Venus One Tourism Academy found a creative way to help its students pay their way through school

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The lingering effects of COVID-19 have created unprecedented new challenges for students around the world and one college in Bali is working hard to alleviate one of school’s most difficult obstacles: tuition costs.

According an article published on FoodandWine.com, students attending the Venus One Tourism Academy in Tegalalang, Bali, can now pay for their classes with coconuts and other tropical plants, like moringa leaves or leaves from gotu kola.

The oil from the coconuts and assorted leaves are converted into herbal soap products that are sold on campus to raise money for the academy, according to the article.

The academy’s director, Wayan Pasek Adi Putra, discussed this inventive new payment method with the Balinese news outlet Bali Puspa, via FoodandWine.com:

Initially, the tuition payment scheme was paid in installments three times, with the first installment at 50% [of the total], the second 20%, and the third 30%. ... Because of this Covid pandemic, we have adapted a flexible policy. We produce virgin coconut oil, so students can pay their tuition by bringing coconuts. ... We have to educate them to optimize the natural resources in their surroundings.

While the implementation of this new payment plan is making school life much more manageable for those attending Venus One Tourism Academy, it doesn’t mean the pandemic hasn’t left an impact on the student body. Venus One students who come from areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases are not allowed to attend lectures, even if they haven’t tested positive for the virus themselves, FoodandWine.com reports.

Those who come from areas with low case numbers are divided into three groups that take their classes in shifts, and all of the students at Venus One are required to wear masks and participate in regular temperature checks.

Throughout the island province, mask-wearing is now mandatory, and violators can expect to face fines of up to 100,000 rupiah (approximately $7 U.S. dollars), according to the FoodandWine.com article.

The Balinese government made the decision in August to close the island to non-Indonesian visitors at least until the end of the year, per BBC News.

On Friday, over 160 students graduated from the Venus One Tourism Academy. Although it remains unclear when Bali will reopen for visitors, whenever the day comes, those graduates — some of whom paid their way with coconuts — are ready.