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May 5, 2021

University of the People’s Enrollment Jumps 210% in One Year

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Number of Students Skyrockets from 31,000 to More Than 65,000

PASADENA, CA (May 5, 2021) – The Education Revolution that started quietly with only a few hundred students in 2009 has exploded in recent years to become one of the largest and fastest-growing online universities in the world. In the past year alone, enrollment at the University of the People (UoPeople) skyrocketed from 31,070 to 65,146 students from more than 200 countries and is on track to surpass 100,000 students by the fall.

UoPeople is the first tuition-free, American-accredited online university designed to provide affordable and accessible higher education opportunities to any qualified student and offers a number of high-demand undergraduate and graduate degree programs. A non-profit institution, UoPeople does not charge any tuition or enrollment fees and all course materials are available online for free.

The university does charge a nominal assessment fee of $120 at the end of each undergraduate course and $240 for its graduate-level courses. That means a student can earn a bachelor’s degree for $4,860, an MBA for $2,940 or a master’s degree in education for $3,180. To fulfill its mission that no qualified student be left behind, the university offers a variety of scholarships for those who cannot afford the modest course assessment fees.

“Students are flocking to the University of the People because there is a tremendous unmet demand for affordable higher education programs that are of high quality and easily accessible online from anywhere in the world,” said UoPeople President Shai Reshef. “UNESCO estimates that by 2025 there will be nearly 100 million young people seeking seats in universities that do not exist.”

The majority of UoPeople’s students come from the United States and during the past year their numbers grew from 9,281 to 15,777 – an increase of 170%. The number of students from other parts of the world are increasing at an even faster rate. Countries with some of the highest growth rates include Jordan (465%), the Philippines (453%), Ghana (261%), Germany (233%) and Mexico (259%).

“I firmly believe that education is a fundamental human right, not simply a privilege for those who are able to afford it,” said President Reshef. “We started University of the People so that every high school graduate, regardless of their financial, geographic, political or personal situation, can have the opportunity to earn a college degree.”

From its inception, UoPeople has focused on providing opportunities for those who have no other recourse for higher education. The majority of its students are non-traditional ranging from working adults and students with children to undocumented students and asylum-seekers, including more than 6,000 refugees mainly from Syria. In 2020, the university launched University of the People Arabic – the first online university of its kind in the Arabic-speaking world

The tuition-free education is supported by more than 23,000 volunteers donating their time and expertise. The volunteers include members of the administration, deans and instructors, many of whom come from prestigious institutions including Columbia, NYU, Princeton, Oxford, UC Berkeley, University of Edinburgh, Vassar, Barnard, and McGill.

UoPeople’s ability to provide students with a high-quality, ultra-low-cost education also is enabled by not having any buildings and the innovative use of technology. Through open educational resources, open-source technology and business intelligence, the university is able to optimize efficiency and keep the cost to students as low as possible.


About University of the People

University of the People (UoPeople) is the Education Revolution. It is the first non-profit, tuition-free, American-accredited online university. Currently there are over 65,000 students from more than 200 countries and territories. Designed to open access to higher education globally, UoPeople helps qualified high school graduates overcome financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints keeping them from collegiate studies. The university offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs in business administration, computer science, and health science, as well as an MBA and M.Ed. program. Graduates of UoPeople can be found working at such companies as Deloitte, Amazon, Apple, Pfizer, Google, Microsoft and IBM. UoPeople collaborates with Harvard Business School Online, New York University, University of California Berkeley, McGill University, and the University of Edinburgh and is supported by foundations such as the Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation and Hewlett Foundation. Learn more at