Forget paying for tuition in cash or check. One university in Thailand will accept payment in the form of rice.
According to a report by Bloomberg, students enrolled at private university Rangsit University can pay for the next semester with rice. Worachat Churdchomjan, a dean who helped set up the program, told Bloomberg the aim of the payment of rice is to help farming families who may not have enough money to send their children to college. The school plans on putting a higher than market value on the rice given some strains of the grain are valued at close to a decade low.
The move on the part of Rangsit University comes at a time when the country is trying to help the roughly 16 million Thais who farm rice to live but are struggling because of a glut of supply both in their home country and overseas. The Thailand military rulers have provided more than $2 billion in support to help the farmers, but farmers are also taking matters into their own hands and are doing things like selling via Facebook and selling rice at stalls at gas stations. Bloomberg noted the stock pile of rice in Thailand stands at around 8 million metric tons, which is equal to about 20 percent of the projected global trade of 40.6 million tons.
Resorting to sales online may pay off for farmers given Thai consumers are accustomed to using alternative payments. A recent survey conducted by ACI Worldwide found that Thai consumers show a remarkable tolerance, not only for the risks inherent in mobile payments but also the possibilities afforded by them. For example, while 32 percent of respondents claimed to have been personally affected by payment fraud within the last year, 40 percent preferred to use mobile wallets or other alternative payment forms over more traditional methods like cards.