Pasadena, CA. September 6, 2018 – University of the People (UoPeople) has announced today that 17,038 students have enrolled in its degree programs from over 200 countries and territories, marking a major milestone for the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university as it starts its tenth academic year.
The university has doubled in number every year over the last four years and is expected to continue this growth in the coming year.
“Reaching this significant milestone is a great way to bring in the academic year,” said President Shai Reshef, who is delivering the Presidential address today – operated through Shindig and Facebook Live – in an online, interactive event with students, instructors and supporters of the organization spread across the world, to officially mark the opening of the school year.
“UoPeople’s students are admitted based on merit and the belief that anyone willing to learn should have the opportunity to do so, regardless of political, financial, geographic, societal or personal constraints. We remain dedicated to providing every qualified student with quality, affordable, accessible higher education and a chance for a better life,” said President Reshef.
Founded in 2009 and achieving accreditation in 2014, the university has quickly gained a foothold in the international arena of online higher education. The university currently offers associates and bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Science and Health Science, in addition to an MBA. The institution’s widespread support has grown to 7,000 volunteers, including leading academics from renowned universities around the world. Its President’s Council, chaired by New York University President Emeritus John Sexton, includes presidents, chancellors and vice chancellors from institutions such as Oxford, Berkeley, Columbia, Rockefeller, Vassar College, and George Washington University, as well as its two newest members – Hamilton College President Emerita Joan Hinde Stewart and Bryn Mawr College President Emerita Jane McAuliffe, among others.
“I’m extremely proud that University of the People was not only able to open the doors to students who may have no other opportunity, but also to enable the best of them to continue their education in world-class universities, such as NYU, Berkeley and Edinburgh,” said John Sexton, referring to the university’s academic partnerships. “I hope that more universities will partner with UoPeople to become a funnel to attract amazing students who would otherwise only dream of going to such universities.”
“It’s exciting to see that the tuition-free college movement has really picked up in recent years and is now being offered in more and more states across the U.S,” added Reshef. “Through the use of technology, UoPeople is proud to be at the forefront of making tuition-free, American accredited higher education available globally, so that qualified students worldwide can have the same opportunity.”
As it enters its tenth year, the university has received a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the university to develop courses in Arabic and is currently evaluating the feasibility of developing a full UoPeople program in Arabic.
The university has accepted more than 1,000 refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, 600 of whom are Syrian (more than any other university in the world). Approximately 40% of the student body reside in the US. In recent years the university has experienced a growing phenomenon of students enrolling who previously dropped out of college due to student debt. According to a recent student survey, about one-third of US-residing students reported being immigrants, of whom, approximately 2,500 are undocumented or DACA.
About University of the People:
University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. The university relies on open-source technology, Open Educational Resources, peer-to-peer learning, and the assistance of academic volunteers worldwide. Founded in 2009, UoPeople has partnered with New York University, University of California Berkeley and the University of Edinburgh to accept students; Microsoft for scholarships, access to its certificate programs, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and Hewlett-Packard, for general support, scholarships for women and internships. UoPeople is supported by The Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, Fondation Hoffmann, and companies such as HP, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Western Union, Estee Lauder and many more.
About UoPeople President Shai Reshef:
President and founder of University of the People, Shai Reshef is an educational entrepreneur, with over 25 years of experience in the international education market. President Reshef has been widely recognized for his work with UoPeople. In 2010, the Huffington Post named him the ‘Ultimate Game Changer in Education,’ and WIRED included him in its list of the ‘50 People who will Change the World’. He was named one of Fast Company’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ as well as a ‘Top Global Thinker’ by Foreign Policy Magazine. Before founding University of the People, Reshef directed KIT e-learning, the first online university in Europe. Shai Reshef’s TED Talk has reached over 5 million viewers.
Contact: Sarah Vanunu
Director of Public Relations, University of the People
US: 626-219-8402; [email protected]
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