What makes it unusual among online schools is that it does both of the following:
- It charges almost nothing. Each course at the university requires just a $100 fee for the administration and grading of its final exam. (Programs require either 20 or 40 courses.) Micro-scholarships are available for those who cannot afford this cost.
- It grants degrees. MOOCs, while totally free, do not explicitly lead to a degree or yield credit.
Created for students around the world who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a U.S.-style college education, University of the People currently serves 1,500 students in 132 countries. It was founded by the entrepreneur Shai Reshef and receives funding from corporations and philanthropic organizations. Its professors and administrators all work for free.
Applicants must be 18, proficient in English, and high school graduates. Students are admitted based on their qualifications and space availability. The university is currently seeking accreditation.