Does The Bursar Have A Great Big Scale?

With tuition costs rising 11.6% since the first of the year, college administrators are tearing their hair out trying to find ways to keep education affordable. Some of their solutions seem practical, a few are even imaginative, and a select handful are downright visionary.

Make room in that last category for the inspiration that visited Dr. Robert Ross, founder and chairman of a medical school and a veterinary school in the West Indies. Eager to admit students from Eastern Europe, and aware that the former Soviet bloc countries are desperately short of hard currency, Dr. Ross hit upon the Barter for Education program. It works like this: Qualified students from Eastern Europe can pay for their education with corn, lumber, or other commodities. It's one of those ideas that's so right, you wonder why no one thought of it before. Just one question: How do you make change for 10,000 bushels of corn?