The United Nations (UN) backed American tuition-free university has been a place of academic solace for many, offering online degrees to thousands of students from over 200 countries.
You might want to ask, “What kind of university survives on zero-tuition?” Well, University of the People (UoPeople) does.
UoPeople was founded by education entrepreneur, Shai Reshef under the UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (GAID). It was officiallyy announced at the United Nations in New York on May 19, 2009.
It needed to be vetted properly by the United Nations before the launch since its aim is to be a citadel of learning open to all nations under the UN umbrella.
Since its inception, the school has produced thousands of graduates. The first set of students graduated in April 2014. The students were majorly from the United States, Syria, Jordan and Nigeria.
As its popularity grows, there are number of facts about this university that every aspirant need to be aware of.
Campus And Headquarters
It is a Distance Education Institution. That is, it’s an online university. It has no campus or headquarters, but it uses an American post office box in Pasadena, California which makes it an American University.
It was accredited in January 2014 by Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) to run associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs. DEAC is a non-profit national educational accreditation agency in the United States specializing in the accreditation of distance education programs of study and institutions.
UoPeople started offering MBA courses in 2016, but it’s yet to be accredited by any business school accreditation body for the award of that degree.
Structure And Organization
The university is led by a board of trustees and its President’s council which is chaired by the New York University’s President Emeritus, John Sexton.
Other notable members of the council includes former Vice-Chancelor of Oxford University, Colin Lucas, Presidents of Duke University, Boston University, University of Edinburgh, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), George Washington University and a host of others.
The school’s operation is facilitated by more than 6000 qualified volunteers from around the globe who fill different roles ranging from lecturers to administrative staff. They are supported by a small staff of salaried employees.
UoPeople uses “instructor support” combined with “learning by teaching” and “peer-to-peer learning”. The institution also employs online discussion forums and online communities in order for students to cover readings, share resources, exchange ideas and discuss assigned questions.
Scholars, professors, librarians, master level students and other qualified professionals from related fields (which are part of the volunteers) oversee and participate in both the assessment process and the development of the institution’s curricula.
The students have access to the UoPeople Library & Resource Center (ULRC), a virtual environment delivered through the university course site. Each class has an average of 20 to 30 students.
The university offers 7 associate, bachelor’s and master’s in business and sciences as contained in its official website.
The University of the People is tuition-free, but not free. This means that the school doesn’t collect tuition from the students, but they make a number of other payments for the survivability of the school:
- Registration fee of $60 per student when admitted into the institution
- Examination fee of $100 – $200 for each examination a student takes.
To obtain an associate degree (A.S.), a student must take a total of 20 exams while bachelor’s degree requires 40 exams. These cost a total of $2,060 and $4,060 respectively.
For MBA, a student is to take 12 courses at $200 per exam, bringing the total to $2,460.
However, students who cannot afford to lay may be eligible for scholarships from sponsors.
Partnership And Sponsorship
UoPeople has entered into two differents partnership with New York University and University of California, Berkeley to admit eligible students from UoPeople who successfully finished their associate degree program and also to provide financial aid to financially disadvantaged students.
The school has a number of sponsors including Microsoft4Afrika, Hewlett Packard (HP), United Nations, Clinton Global Initiative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, OpenCourseWare Consortium (OPWC), Asal Technologies and Ashoka.
Apart from New York University and University of California, UoPeople is affiliated to Yale Law School Information Society Project (ISP), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
The importance of online degree courses can never be over emphasized. University of the People is an opportunity that many can leverage. To apply, visit the official website of the institution.
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