The online university is seeing a significant spike in applications as the coronavirus leads to the closure of other institutions. – FE News


Like many industries, the world of higher education has been hit hard by the current COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdowns enacted in countries around the world, recent reports have suggested that many universities are facing the prospect of tuition reimbursement – following an online petition from 266,000 students who are due to start. the academic year in social isolation.

However, the current crisis has seen the institutions built for distance learning and distance higher education become vital support structures for those seeking to continue their education without interruption.

People’s University (www.uopeople.edu), is an accredited, non-profit, tuition-free online university providing access to higher education regardless of financial, geographic, political or personal constraints, proving to be a viable alternative and has seen a huge increase student registrations since the start of the pandemic.

In China alone, the People’s University saw a 200% increase in the number of applicants for its range of higher education courses, compared to previous quarters. The online university has also seen a significant spike in interest in areas heavily affected by the coronavirus, including Italy, Japan and South Korea. Founded in 2009, and having received accreditation from the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC) in 2014, the People’s University offers bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs in business administration, computer science and in Health Sciences, as well as an MBA and Masters in Education.

Their course leaders include current and former lecturers from institutions such as NYU, Columbia, Oxford, McGill, UC Berkeley, and George Washington University, and they have also received support from leading investors including the Bill & Melinda Foundation. Gates. With over 27,000 students enrolled in over 200 countries and territories (including 1,000 identifying as refugees), the university is prepared for this recent influx and its unique combination of academic expertise and video seminars could be a model. for others.

Shai Reshef, Founder and President of the People’s University, comments: “Our goal is to foster an environment where education is not just a privilege for the few, but rather a right for all. By enabling online learning on a global scale, we aim to transform not only the lives of our students, but also their families, communities and nations by providing world-class learning opportunities to all who are qualified. , whatever their personal situation.

As an institution specifically designed for distance learning, the People’s University is one step ahead of more traditional universities, which seek to build structure in the midst of the pandemic. As for the financial pressures of education, exacerbated by the current crisis, students pay not a tuition fee, but an assessment fee of $ 100 ($ 200 for graduate degrees), at the end of the year. ‘a course, with various scholarships available for those whose cost could still prove prohibitive.

“We believe that increased access to higher education is a vital gateway to global economic development and ultimately a more peaceful world,” adds Reshef.

While many countries have yet to reach the peak of the current pandemic, it is unclear when education will return to a state of normalcy. However, there is also the question of whether one of the results of COVID-19 is that distance learning and mainstream education will be reassessed, that is, once students can revisit their campuses – will they want to?

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