This college degree may not be prestigious, but it’s truly affordable. Tuition is free, although each proctored exam costs $100.
Just in time for its first graduates, the University of the People, a tuition-free four-year-old online institution built to reach underserved students around the world, announced Thursday that it had received accreditation.
The University of the People currently offers degrees in business administration and computer science. Present enrollment is 700 students, but with newly acquired accreditation that number is expected to grow to 5,000 students by 2016.
It appears that real learning is taking place.
Classes at the university are 10 weeks long, and have 20 to 30 students — often from as many different countries — who have weekly homework and quizzes. The university depends largely on volunteer labor. Mr. Reshef said some 3,000 professors have offered to volunteer, although so far the university has only been able to use about 100 of them.
Its deans are volunteers from New York University and Columbia.
The school was created by Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef, who has been able to attract the attention of some big guns in the realm of higher education.
The University of the People, almost from the start, has attracted high-level support, with partnerships or backing from New York University, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the OpenCourseWare Consortium and many others. In August, Microsoft agreed to provide scholarships, mentoring and job opportunities to 1,000 African students who enroll at the University of the People.
I’m reminded of this: