University of the People Launching First Arabic Language Program in September

Breakthrough Solution to Solve Refugee Higher Education Crisis


Pasadena, CA (July 20, 2020) — University of the People, the first and only non-profit, tuition-free, American, accredited online university, announced the landmark launch of its first Arabic language degree program this September.


The program will be the first online university of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world, a milestone in providing tuition-free, American, accredited higher education for refugees and displaced populations around the globe. University of the People in Arabic is designed for Arabic-speaking refugees — mainly from Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq – as well as other qualified students.


The program is accredited by Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Council for Higher Education Accreditation.


Over the past two years, 125,000 Arabic-speaking students began the UoPeople application process, but could not complete it because of the university’s English-language proficiency requirements. “The overwhelming majority of submissions came from refugees,” says UoPeople President Shai Reshef. “Because it is our mission, we felt obliged to open our doors in a second language with the same principles of higher education access that we have upheld for the past 11 years.”


Currently, UoPeople has enrolled 3,000 refugees in its normal English-language program, 2,000 of whom are Syrian, more than any other university in the world. The total enrollment for the current term is 36,000 students from over 200 countries and territories. Enrolled students at University of the People in Arabic will receive an American, accredited two-year Associate Degree in Business Administration, which can be there first step to earning a bachelor’s degree. Students will also have the option to simultaneously immerse themselves in English-language courses. Upon successful completion of their associate degree and English-language courses, students can continue directly on to UoPeople’s English-language business administration bachelor’s degree program.


UoPeople aims to develop a full bachelor’s degree in business administration in Arabic for students who wish to study only in Arabic. Once completed, the program will be submitted to UoPeople’s accrediting agency and specifics will only be announced if and when it is ready to be offered to students. Huda El-Jack, the Managing Director of UoPeople Arabic, said: “The Arab world is passing through tough circumstances, including wars and the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic. Now, a young man in Jordan who was unable to complete his education because he chose to work after school, a housewife that had to stay home to raise her family, or a refugee in the Zaatari camp with extremely limited access to universities can all now study online, tuition-free for a university degree.”


President’s Council Chair John Sexton, also President Emeritus of New York University, highlighted the value of e-learning, saying, “The Arab world was waiting for a quality higher education solution for many qualified yet displaced students who have not had this option. We are proud to be the first to bring a quality American education online to the millions in the region who deserve it.”


Since its inception in 2009, all of University of the People’s classes have been taught in English.


Plans for UoPeople in Arabic were originally announced at the World Economic Forum Meeting in Jordan in April 2019.


About University of the People


University of the People (UoPeople; is the world’s first and only non-profit, tuition-free, American, accredited, online university. UoPeople is dedicated to opening access to higher education globally to qualified students facing common barriers – financial, social, geographic, political – hindering their collegiate studies. With a groundbreaking online learning model and instructors from the world’s foremost academic institutions, UoPeople offers not only the opportunity to pursue a high-quality degree but also the opportunity to change one’s life.


Founded in 2009 by education entrepreneur Shai Reshef, the University has grown into a premiere online higher education platform, boasting a student body of more than 36,000 students representing more than 200 countries and territories. UoPeople has established partnerships with NYU, University of Edinburgh, and UC Berkeley and is supported by the generosity of individuals and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and more.


For English-speaking countries:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +12128498250


For Arabic-speaking countries:
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: + 16263650603