As school starts up again, students share some inspiring stories from Africa of how UoPeople’s life-changing model of higher education has transformed their lives for the better.
A new school year is underway. At University of the People, this means hundreds of students from over 200 countries and territories will come together online with the shared goal of earning their degrees. Despite hardships like financial burdens, familial obligations, and their country’s political unrest, here are some students’ stories from Africa that showcase how University of the People completely changed their access to education and allowed them to earn the degrees they deserve to be able to get.
They tell of how UoPeople’s revolutionary education model changed their lives for the better, what they loved most about the program, and how their unique circumstances were met through the 100% online, tuition-free, and accredited American university.
Osvaldo Dias dos Santos
Education as a Right, Regardless of Politics
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree, Computer Science
Burden Overcome: Politics & Lack of Teachers
Osvaldo Dias dos Santos started studying in Luanda, Angola in 1984. Angola was on its path to becoming a communist country, and there was just one state-run university. His goal was to study Computer Science, but there was a genuine lack of teachers. Therefore, in 1991, Angola’s single university made the decision to send students to Portugal to finish their courses.
However, Osvaldo‘s family was going through turbulent times and the opportunity to go to Portugal wasn’t in his cards. In the end, he stopped studying in 1995, which is over three years more than the time the university stated it would take to complete the degree on the state scholarship program.
Yet, his desire to complete his degree at a top level higher institution never disappeared. Unfortunately, it was always too expensive. When finding UoPeople, Osvaldo knew this was the perfect institution as it offered a mix of affordability, accessibility, and quality to finally achieve his dreams!
Above all, he says that “the professors, professionalism, friendship, and superior quality of the education” was his favorite part.
Earning an Education Without Family Support
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree, Community and Public Health
Burden Overcome: Losing her family and still pursuing an education
Growing up without parents, Sophia was always ambitious about studying, but education was too expensive to afford since she supported herself from a young age. Unfortunately, Sophia lost her mother when she was just four years old, and when she was about to complete high school, her father passed away due to a lung-related illness. When she completed high school, without either parent to help support her financially or mentally, she still pursued a degree in higher education from the Open University.
However, it proved to be too expensive, so she finished with a certificate in Health and Social Care. Yet, her goal to achieve her degree never subsided. Once she found UoPeople, the tuition-free and fully online model provided her with everything she needed to overcome what had previously been barriers to her education. Additionally, 10 units of her study was covered through as scholarship from the University, further easing her burdens.
As she studies at her own pace, she feels comfortable knowing that she now has a support system in the form of her admission advisor, course instructors, and peer network. She says, “UoPeople is a miracle and a dream come true for me.”
Muntari Issah Fongo
Not Letting Financial Burdens Get in the Way
Degree: Associate’s Degree, Computer Science – Microsoft4Afrika Program
Burden Overcome: Affordability
Muntari had always dreamed of enrolling in a high-quality university, but much like the story of so many other hopeful students, the cost of higher education created a massive barrier that felt impossible to overcome. He was close to losing hope until he discovered UoPeople, where he says, “UoPeople makes it possible for people to attend once qualified through its numerous scholarship packages.”
Specifically, he’s referring to the Microsoft4Afrika program. Established in 2013, Microsoft4Afrika supports 1,000 African students to study either Business Administration or Computer Science. Not only does MIcrosoft cover any cost associated with the program (like the application and assessment fees), but it also provides students with extracurricular programs like mentorship from the company’s employees, professional training, and internship and job opportunities upon graduation.
When asked what his favorite part was about studying at UoPeople, Muntari responded, “My favorite thing about UoPeople is the large community ever ready to provide help when needed, the instructors, peers and various service sectors.”
A Second Chance at Life
Degree: Bachelor’s Degree, Business Administration
Location: South Africa
Burdens Overcome: Admission requirements, affordability, and family commitments
For some people, the opportunity to earn a degree is a second chance at life. Othusitse wasn’t able to get accepted into any of the local universities because he couldn’t meet the admission requirements of the schools in his country. Furthermore, the costs were too high, and he had to drop out of lower level college because of it. His mother was raising the family alone as the sole breadwinner, so he also had to work to help support the family.
But the situation was resolved with University of the People’s tuition-free model and relatively low admission requirements. Along with an application, students are required to display proof of English proficiency and high school completion. Rather than requiring costly tests like the GRE, lengthy personal statement essays, and personal interviews, UoPeople has a nearly open-door policy, which has allowed for over 18,500 students to pass through its program.
Othusitse never gave up hope, and he says that UoPoeople is “a second chance to further my education, and I am going to ride it like my life depends on it.”
These are just a few excerpts from thousands of students in Africa and around the globe who have studied at UoPeople and experienced a transformative life because of the model’s one-of-a-kind, yet scalable structure.
Are you interested in improving your life? Starting a new career? Advancing in your current field? Find out more about UoPeople’s degree offerings here!