A tuition-free university for everyone you may not know exists! — Leadership Newspaper
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A tuition-free university for everyone you may not know exists!

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Have you ever wondered if there could be a university where one can earn a recognized degree and not be bothered by the high cost of tuition that is the bane of millions of willing and qualified individuals around the world today? Then, look no further because University of the People may be the solution.

University of the People, (or UoPeople), is the first-ever, tuition-free, degree-granting, online university, that is headquartered in Pasadena, in California, USA. UoPeople enjoys a wide support of academic luminaries from prestigious universities around the world such as Harvard, Oxford, UC Berkeley, NYU, among others. The university boasts of over 2000 volunteer professors and had partnered with University of Edinburgh, NYU, and UC Berkeley, for transfer of her top performing students to these world-class institutions. It has over 12,000 students from more than 180 countries. UoPeople offers a degree program in business administration, computer science, health sciences and MBA.

A Brief History

UoPeople was established in 2009 by entrepreneur Shai Reshef for two important reasons. The first is to render a tuition-free, high-quality online university education to every qualified student around the world who may not be able to access higher education due to financial, cultural, personal and geographical constraints. The second is to show nations’ governments how to operate a low-cost but quality online university education through the combination of peer-to-peer learning, open educational resources, and open-source online learning apps; rather than trying unnecessarily so hard with their few millions in building an unaffordable and unsustainable brick-and-mortar educational model for their teeming populations.

Why Online?

The brick-and-mortar educational model may be great and so long in practice but very expensive, consequently, not enough/accessible and make it impossible for all qualified students around the world to have access to higher education which is a major determinant of socio-economic status today. According to UNESCO, by 2025, nearly 100 million people will be deprived of a higher education because there will not be enough seats available for them even if they have the qualifications and the fund. The ultimate solution may be online education because it has a number of advantages over its traditional counterpart, such as unlimited intakes, time flexibility, cheaper tuition, less commuting stress, high-tech academic logistics options, among others. Surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning reported: “students who study online perform modestly better than those taking face to face instructions.”

How can a university be tuition-free and be effective/sustainable?

University of the people is tuition-free but not totally free because it charges a minimal fee for application processing and course assessment to maintain her quality services. Each of her applicants is expected to pay a $60 USD as application processing fee and $100 as course assessment fee for each of their 40 courses in the undergraduate degree programs. Thus, an associate degree seeker is expected to pay, in total, a sum of $2060 in two years, and a bachelor’s degree seeker is expected to pay a total of $4060 in four years. If there are those who cannot afford even this and for them is made available an array of scholarships that are provided by UoPeople’s generous sponsors and donors such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, HP, Western Union, Google, Facebook, Intel, Hoffmann, to mention but a few.

Is the University of the People accredited?

University of the people is accredited by the Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in 2014. DEAC is a private, non-profit national accreditation organization in the United States. DEAC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a national institutional accrediting organization. UoPeople is also approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) as a degree-granting institution.

How To Apply

The basic requirements are:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age as at the time of application
  • Has a proof of English proficiency or be a native English speaker
  • Has a proof of high school completion
  • Has access to a computer and a basic internet connection.
  • Fill and complete the applicant’s application form and make a payment of $60 (which may be waived if a student can prove that he/she cannot afford it).


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