University of the People (UoPeople) is the first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university. Dedicated to opening access to higher education globally, UoPeople is designed to help qualified high school graduates overcome financial, cultural, geographic, political, and personal constraints keeping them from collegiate studies. The university currently offers two-year associate and four-year bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Health Science as well as an MBA program.
UNESCO estimates that by the year 2025, there will be nearly 100 million young people seeking seats in universities that don’t exist; UoPeople is an essential part of avoiding such a tragic missed opportunity for would-be students. The university believes that access to higher education can promote world peace and global economic development. As a basic right, higher education can transform the lives, not only of students, but also their families, communities, nations and, by extension, the world.
UoPeople opened its gates in 2009, was accredited in February 2014, and enrolls over 6,000 students from about 194 countries. The university is led by President Shai Reshef, an education entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience, and by distinguished international boards of trustees and advisors.
University leadership includes esteemed academics from Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Yale and more. UoPeople’s President’s Council is chaired by John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University, and includes Richard H. Brodhead, President of Duke University; Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux, Rector Emerita of The Academy of Paris; Catharine B. Hill, President Emerita of Vassar College; Sir Colin Lucas, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of The University of Oxford; George Erik Rupp, President Emeritus of Columbia University; and Torsten N. Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and President Emeritus of Rockefeller University, among others.
UoPeople has academic partnerships with UC Berkeley, in which UoPeople associate degree holders are eligible to apply to continue their studies toward a bachelor degree on campus at Berkeley; NYU, to accept students on a generous scholarship; and with Yale Law School ISP, for research. UoPeople is also affiliated with the UN, UNESCO and Ashoka, among others. UoPeople’s corporate partners include Microsoft, which sponsors scholarships for African students; and HP which sponsors a women’s scholarship fund.
UoPeople is supported by several foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Fondation Hoffmann and more. UoPeople has more than 1.2 million supporters on Facebook and has been covered by media worldwide, including the New York Times, BBC, NPR, Times Higher Education, US News and World Report, and President Reshef’s TED Talk, which has been viewed over 4 million times.
UoPeople is able to offer tuition-free education because of its use of volunteers, Open Educational Resources, open-source Technology and peer-to-peer learning. More than 5,000 professionals have volunteered for the university, filling key UoPeople leadership positions including University President, Provost, Academic Deans, Course Developers, Academic Advisers and Course Instructors.
UoPeople is building a sustainable new model for higher education, in which students are asked to pay only a $100 exam processing fee at the end of each course; for students who might find even these modest fees prohibitive, the university offers a variety of scholarships.
Generous contributions have enabled the growth of the university to date. UoPeople continues to look for individual, corporate and foundation partners to assist in providing scholarship support for its students with the greatest need, to fulfill the part of its mission that no qualified student will be left behind for financial reasons.