Monday, January 25, 2010

Business Week Profiles Online U. of the People

The January 21 issue of Business Week takes a look at the new tuition-free online university called the University of the People, designed for students in developing countries who lack access to higher education.

“At first glance, the school has many of the trappings of a modern university: a provost, department heads, even an admissions committee,” the article noted. “Yet there are glaring differences--namely, the lack of a campus or physical classroom and just a handful of paid staff--that set it apart from its bricks-and-mortar counterparts.”

The school was founded by Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur, who said, "Education has become so expensive that not that many people can afford it, and in some parts of the world it just doesn't exist or there isn't a big enough supply.... I thought: What can be done better with the Internet than helping people get an online education for free?"

The venture is incorporated in California and includes the support of the United Nations and academics from Columbia U., New York U. and Yale U. Over 300 students representing 70 countries have signed on to the university. Students will be able to pursue an associate's-degree or bachelor's-degree track in business or a bachelor's track in computer science. (However, the actual granting of the degrees is pending accreditation which sponsors hope will come through American accreditation organizations.)

For more info see Business Week, January 19; . Or go to .