University of the People Review

Posted by admin on June 23, 2012 under Review | Read the First Comment

university of people reviewsThe University of the People (UoPeople) is an online academic institution that is not accredited and is non-profit. It was founded by Shai Reshef, an entrepreneur, in 2009 and has its headquarters in Pasadena, California. All lecture and study sessions take place on a secure website so any student with internet access could theoretically apply. In its first semester, 180 students were enrolled from almost 50 different countries. By early 2012, some 1,400 students had enrolled from approximately 130 countries. Despite the relatively low number of students, the University of the People’s Facebook page is heading towards the million mark in terms of supporters. As students can learn according to their own schedules, time zone issues are taken care of.

Fees & Process
Unlike other online learning opportunities, the University of the People is not actually free though the fees are extremely low. In actual fact, a fee of $10-$50 is charged to cover the cost of reviewing and accepting/rejecting an application. The amount charged depends on the person’s nation of residence with lower fees charged to students from developing countries. There is also talk of introducing exam processing fees of $10-$100. Again, this fee will depend on the applicant’s place of residence. Reshef has inferred that this fee may increase though the sliding scale will remain. Even with the additional fees, a student from a developing nation will pay approximately $350 for a 4 year education while developed nation applicants may pay $4,000. However, such fees are for the future once the University of the People receives its accreditation.

To be accepted into the University of the People, you need to have English proficiency and a high school diploma. As modest as the requirements are, only 3-4% of applicants have met the standard to date meaning that UoPeople’s acceptance rate is about half that of Harvard’s! The online application process consists of writing six short essays on selected topics before paying the processing fee. The high school diploma or equivalent must also be sent before the decision can be made.

The main problem with UoPeople is the lack of suitable applicants. Reshef envisaged a larger scale operation when he founded the University but to date, a relatively small amount of people have been accepted. Also, UoPeople only have courses in Business Administration and Computer Science available. Those who teach the courses receive a token sum of a few hundred dollars a semester but there are an estimated 2,000 volunteers who have nothing to do according to Reshef. If UoPeople lowers its standards, the courses available may not be useful to applicants who failed to meet the old standards. However, as it stands, UoPeople is nowhere near as successful as it should be. Also, it is not yet accredited though it is hoped that the U.S Department of Education will grant it accredited status in 2012.

With so many world famous companies and educational institutions as partners and allies including New York University, World Computer Exchange and Hewlett Packard, one would imagine that the University of the People would really take off and become a global success. Despite attracting students from well over 100 countries however, it seems as if UoPeople has a long way to go in order to be the ultimate online educational solution Reshef hoped it would be.