Pasadena, CA (PRWEB) September 06, 2012
University of the People (UoPeople) is now entering its fourth year as the first tuition-free online university dedicated to opening access to higher education worldwide. Over the past 3 years, UoPeople has accepted 1500 students around the globe, while further developing its financial model to make the university available to students for generations to come. With this model, the university is positioning itself to be a fully sustainable tuition-free university serving 5000 students a year by 2015.
Among the initiatives taken by UoPeople to ensure financial sustainability is introducing a fee structure so that students are responsible for the costs of processing exams. While the tuition remains free and no student is turned away for lack of funds, these new nominal fees will help sustain the schools long-term economic health.
Should any student be unable to pay all or some of these fees, the university has developed a number of innovative scholarship models. UoPeople has arranged scholarships with corporate partners and also created a micro-scholarship portal, the first of its kind at any university, to connect individual donors directly to students in need.
UoPeoples corporate scholarships include partnerships with companies like Intel and Hewlett-Packard. Hewlett-Packard established a dedicated fund to support female students seeking associate degrees, complete with a mentoring process by HP employees for students. The university also created a general scholarship fund, with funding from private donors and family foundations.
UoPeople is positioning itself to raise $ 5 million dollars by 2015 in order to have the $ 9 million total it needs to be fully sustainable. The university has already raised $ 4 million with financial support coming from its founder and President Shai Reshef, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and others.
Because of its innovative use of peer-to-peer learning, open source technology and volunteer academics, the university is able to offer associate and bachelor degrees tuition-free while still offering a quality education.
Over the past 3 years the UoPeople has also developed a Presidents Council, comprised of leadership from top-tier universities around the world whose expertise contribute greatly to the schools growth and sustainability. Among its members are New York University President John Sexton; Sir Colin Lucas, who served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1997 to 2004; and Mich