University of the People is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, degree-granting online academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education globally for all qualified individuals, despite financial, geographic or societal constraints.
In February 2014 UoPeople received accreditation from the Distance and Education Training Council, a U.S. Department of Education authorized accrediting agency.
Founded in 2009 by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, UoPeople is affiliated with the United Nations GAID, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Yale Law School ISP. UoPeople has signed collaborative partnership agreements with New York University (NYU) to accept students; Microsoft for scholarships, internships and mentoring and with Hewlett-Packard (HP), through the Catalyst Initiative, to provide student internship opportunities. UoPeople offers undergraduate programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. To date, more than 1600 students from 142 countries have been admitted. Of students polled consecutively each term, 95% would recommend UoPeople to a peer.
With its tuition-free online programs, University of the People is opening access to higher education for all those constrained, as well as building a scalable and replicable model capable of changing the very nature of higher education. The non-profit UoPeople has managed to succeed in cutting down almost the entire cost of higher education, and does not charge for tuition or books/materials. All that is asked is for students to pay a one-time application processing fee ($50) and subsequent modest examination processing fees ($100) levied per course. There are no other fees whatsoever.
UoPeople strives to ensure, in keeping with its mission, that no qualified individual is excluded for financial reasons. To assist students in financial need, UoPeople has dedicated student scholarship funds. Corporate sponsors include Hewlett-Packard’s sponsorship of 100 HP Scholars as part of the UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund; Microsoft’s sponsorship of 1,000 African students as part of the 4Afrika initiative; Western Union’s sponsorship of students and Intel Foundation’s sponsorship of women students from Haiti.