With an overwhelming 90% approval rate from its own first term students, University of the People (UoPeople) begins its second term with strong momentum as it makes history as the first-ever tuition free online university. Today, 120 second term students from 47 countries including Afghanistan, Thailand, Sudan and Zambia begin their programs at UoPeople, joining members of the inaugural class who started in September.
“The positive feedback we’ve received from our students is particularly gratifying and makes navigating through the myriad of obstacles and challenges even more worthwhile,” said Shai Reshef, founder & president, UoPeople. “We can do all the market research in the world, but hearing this feedback from the students is wonderful. We look forward to forging ahead with our goal to provide access to a university education to any qualified candidate in the world who wants one—regardless of their economic status or geographical location.”
A student poll gave UoPeople a rousing endorsement with 90% of respondents stating they would definitely or likely recommend the school to their peers and family. Michael, a first term student, said: “I need not the titles but the information, the training, the connectedness of peers who believe in universal education.” Ranging in age from 18 to 63, 82 students from the new class beginning today are pursuing the Business Administration program, while 38 chose Computer Science.
Launched in January 2009, UoPeople is the brainchild of Reshef, an entrepreneur with a long and successful career in education. He donated $1 million of his own money to provide the startup funding for this breakthrough concept in education and the organization is currently seeking additional donors.
Students begin their studies at UoPeople with two orientation courses to ensure their ability to complete their chosen programs. The course Computer Skills for Online Learning provides a basic introduction to the learning process and computer applications which students will use to pursue their academic studies in an online environment, while English Composition will develop and enhance fundamental skills of reading and writing English. Passing grades in both courses are necessary to formally begin the Business Administration or Computer Science programs at UoPeople.
Currently, students may attend UoPeople, a non-profit organization, entirely free of charge. As the University expands, the sustainability model requires that nominal application and assessment processing fees ($15-$50 and $10-$100 respectively) be levied to cover operating expenses. Students will never be charged for admission, taking classes or accessing study materials.
Thousands of prospective students applied to attend UoPeople, which seeks to accommodate all who satisfy the entry requirements. With five terms per year, UoPeople allows students to commence their studies on a rolling basis. Enrollment for Term 3, beginning February 4, is currently open at www.UoPeople.org.
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