Affordable, Inclusive, and Online: People’s University Opens Admissions

Enrollment for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open worldwide, including in South Africa, for the University of the People – the first non-profit, tuition-free, government-accredited online university. United States. Open to all qualified applicants, the university provides affordable, accessible, and quality higher education opportunities, helping “missing middle students” overcome financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints preventing them from studying in the higher education and ultimately better job opportunities.

In South Africa, around 1.4 million people have completed secondary school but could not enroll in a bachelor’s degree program due to limited places or financial constraints. These missing middle students are those who cannot afford college but are above the income threshold to qualify for government funding.

With education being key to overcoming poverty, unemployment and social inequality in South Africa, there is an urgent need for more affordable and accessible higher education institutions with alternative funding models, as highlighted by the #Feesmustfall movement that began in 2015. However, with the unemployment rate currently at 32.6%, access to higher education institutions is not enough – graduates must be employable when entering the job market .

At UoPeople, college attendance costs have been waived to be more inclusive, and the courses offered are in high demand in the job market, helping 92% of its graduates globally secure employment after graduation. graduation. Students are prepared to enter the world of work through a Career Services Center, which provides career preparation support. Additionally, because classes are made up of individuals from 20-30 different countries, students are exposed to other cultures and ways of thinking, preparing them for today’s global workforce where they are. likely to work in international companies and interact with people from all over the world. the world. Many UoPeople graduates have gone on to work in top international companies and organizations such as Google, IBM, Apple, Dell, Microsoft and even the United Nations.

UoPeople does not charge for online courses, course materials, or annual registration, however, a nominal registration fee and modest course evaluation fee is charged to cover the overall running costs of the university. While traditional on-campus bachelor’s degrees can cost around R150,000, a bachelor’s degree from UoPeople will cost around R69,000, reducing the total cost by more than 50%. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the nominal fee.

For local student Shannon Duncan, UoPeople offered an opportunity to get a quality higher education at an affordable price, while being flexible enough to allow her to work while studying so she could pay her fees. “I fall into that middle space where my income is not low enough to get funding, but not high enough to be able to afford college. UoPeople is affordable and not being tied to physical classes means I can earn money while working towards my health science degree.

Academic programs offered

UoPeople offers bachelor’s degrees in high-demand academic programs in business administration, computer science, and health sciences, as well as a master’s of education and an MBA.

The university collaborates with leading institutions, such as Harvard Business School Online, University of Edinburgh, New York University and McGill University in Canada, to create even more opportunities for its students . UoPeople obtained accreditation in 2014 from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which is officially recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

The fee structure

UoPeople has a very simple tuition-free higher education model, where most of the costs of attending college have been removed. There is a one-time application fee of $60 (approximately R880) and at the end of each course an assessment fee is due: $120 (approximately R1,800) for undergraduate courses and $240 (approximately R3 500) for graduate courses. Financial assistance is available for those who need it.

The approximate total costs to earn a degree at UoPeople are:

  • Undergraduate degree: $2,460 (*R36,200)
  • Bachelor’s degree: $4,860 (*R71,500)
  • MBA: $2,940 (*R43,200)
  • M.Ed. : $3,180 (*R46,800)

*Based on the value of the dollar against the rand (on July 29 – 14.71 rand per dollar)

How the online model works

Students can study from anywhere in the world, on any device, even a mobile phone. All learning materials and textbooks are Open Educational Resources (OER), which are free to the student.

All students are assigned a program advisor at the start of their studies who guides them through to graduation. Classes are led by qualified teachers. The final grade is based on a combination of peer and faculty graded assignments, graded quizzes, and a final exam.

Along with online courses, online forums and peer review groups ensure that students are part of a strong and vibrant online community. Pragashnie Naidoo, a current Master of Education student who also recently completed her Bachelor of Science. in Health Sciences with UoPeople says, “I enjoy having online discussions with people from all over the world. I am introverted and suffer from anxiety, but I made valuable connections globally, which I am still in touch with today.

Student Resources

The UoPeople ensures that all students are equipped and able to study. Students are not required to watch videos or download large files, which minimizes mobile data usage if students choose to study from a mobile phone. Each student receives a subscription to Microsoft Office 365 and therefore has the necessary software for a course at no additional cost. The university currently has around 1,600 students in South Africa who are successfully studying with the institution.

How to register

Visit the website at: to view admission requirements. Then simply complete the online application form and pay the one-time application fee. Applications are still open and are currently being accepted for Semester 2 of the 2021-2022 academic year, which begins in November.

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