University of the People is a tuition-free university. The University is a not-for-profit institution that does not charge students to take classes. Readings and course materials are available online, free of charge for each and every registered student.
Harnessing the power of the web, University of the People is the first among tuition-free universities. Determined to change the global mindset on higher education delivery, UoPeople and hopefully other tuition-free universities will evolve traditional academic methods of learning and turn to the internet to bring university programs within reach of the majority, rather than keeping it in the hands of the minority – irrespective of financial, geographical or social constraints.
Supporting under-served populations, the concept of tuition-free universities was created to provide access to structured, degree-level programs in Business Administration and Computer Science. UoPeople accepts those qualified applicants who have graduated from high school, have access to a computer and Internet and have sufficient English skills to complete the English-only courses.
Social networking and assisting one another is a big factor in the success of tuition-free universities online. Peer-based and collaborative learning forms part of the overall learning and grading system where students are required to fully participate in discussions and answer questions posed by the faculty and other students in their groups and forums.
Underpinning the peer-based learning methodology is the constant presence of academic faculty – both employed and volunteer – who provide the necessary support, within the learning environment, for students as they progress.
UoPeople is not yet an accredited institution; however its academic leadership and its advisory committee, comprised of senior academics from the likes of Columbia University, NYU, Yale and INSEAD, ensure its commitment to provide quality academic programs.
Although UoPeople is considered part of the innovative idea of tuition-free universities, to ensure self-sustainability, it needs to charge nominal Application and Exam Adminstration fees. The Application Processing Fee is between $10-$50 as adjusted on a sliding scale based on the economic situation in each applicant’s country or place of residence. Additionally, beginning with all new applications started August 27, 2012, UoPeople has implemented an Exam Processing Fee of $100 per course. Students unable to pay the Exam Processing Fee may apply for a scholarship.