Education by the Numbers

How many people do you know who are pursuing higher education? Chances are your answer will largely depend on where you live.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 70% of potential students in the U.S. attend a higher education institution, in comparison to only 6% in Sub-Saharan Africa.

These numbers are a blatant sign of a failed system. In short, they indicate that your socio-economic status and geographic location determines whether or not you can go to college.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this unacceptable and unnecessary.

Even in the U.S. where a majority of university-aged young people are enrolled in post-secondary education, there is still an astounding number who do not have the chance.

An education at a public four-year college costs an average of $7,020 per year for students who live in state and $11,528 for students who live out of state. At private four-year colleges in the U.S., the average tuition is $26,273 per year. And this doesn’t even include books, meal plans and housing.

I view a college education as an investment. But I believe it should be an investment of time and hard work—not money.

We at University of the People are not the only or the first ones to look at statistics on education. We are, however, determined to be the ones who change them.


About President Shai Reshef

Starting in 1989, Shai Reshef served as chairman of the Kidum Group, a test preparation company, which he sold in 2005 to Kaplan, one of the world’s largest education companies. While chairman of Kidum, he built an online university affiliated with the University of Liverpool, enrolling students from more than 100 countries; that business was sold to Laureate, another large for-profit education company, in 2004. A vessel for universal higher education, UoPeople has the enormous potential to function as a global stimulus package, reaching even the most remote and poorest places on earth. Our ultimate mission is to democratize higher education and, if the past two years are any indication, this is not merely a pipe dream.
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11 Responses to Education by the Numbers

  1. Leah says:

    i like the idea of Uopeople. the economy is getting ridiculous when it comes to our education. we shouldn’t have to pay so much to get a job that benefits everyone and not just the person themselves.

  2. Dear Reshef

    Over here in Nigeria, word has been going around about University of the People. In fact, a group of guys did some kind of advert in over 5000 copies of flyers distributed around FCT, Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, about your school, and everyone is kind of interested.

    I wanted to ask you…how can someone from Nigeria donate money to you if they want to?


    Indeed this is very charitable and good, to this generation we should have education as basic but the biggest hindering is finances, AIDS, and early family responsibilities.
    I love very much all youths in Africa to get involved.

  4. straderspiel says:

    Another major problem in the US is that the cost of student loans far exceed the earning potential students have once they graduate. I know when I was looking at online schools, it was going to cost $50,000 for a bachelor’s degree. The amount I would make in a marketing position upon graduating would be closer to $30,000. So, even if students have the money (via loans) to put toward their higher education, it is no longer a sound investment when salaries have stagnated.

  5. Roudha abdi rahman says:

    Hi al am a kenyan bt currently living in ethiopia and wat i feel about the university opeople is a great respond 2 the the school drope outs, drug dealers etc but the question is that how can you help such people coz what i know is that they were not born with such stupidity

  6. Mahlori Rodwell Mathebula says:

    I am from sub saharan Africa and I am familiar with the conditions mentioned above. I learnt abt Uopeople from a friend en I’m currently in the application process. I thank UoPeople 4 embarking on such an undertaking which has brought a new hope 2 those of us who couldn’t afford a tertiary education. We’ll keep on spreading the word.

    • Shai Reshef says:

      Dear Mahlori Rodwell Mathebula,
      Thank you for your kind words of support for both Mr. Reshef and University of the People.
      It is students and supporters like yourself who add extra value to our initiative.

      We are grateful for your encouragement and hope we can further spread our message and enable many more people to access tuition free education.

  7. We thx u 4 ur statement abt the problem of student in world of african.thx,bt my problem z dt where can u full forms 4 this college go gt admistration in USA.pls tell me pls

  8. Thanks a lot for taking concern in bringing out this topic out and helping everyone to understand the current Higher Educational Statics. It many not be in African Continent,even in Asia especially in India we have got this problem.Here students have very well understanding capabilities etc but there are no one to encourage them in order to pursue their Higher Education in what ever field they are interested in.This may be due to poverty where Parents may not be able to show high bank balance.
    If this is taken into consideration then surely many many of us can be successful by at least getting into their High Qualifications done.
    Navaneeth Nagendra

    • Shai Reshef says:

      Dear Navaneeth Nagendra,
      Thank you for your comment.

      University of the People welcomes applicants from around the world.
      We invite you to view our website, academic programs and online application process at

      We established UoPeople with the hope that it would impact lives for the better. With each Term at UoPeople, we are making another step in history.
      In order to extend the benefits of UoPeople to everyone who wishes for the opportunity, we need your help. Whether you can lend your time, donate money or tell your friends about UoPeople, the ripples of your network will bring your total impact to new heights.

      Regards and best of luck,

      UoPeople Communications Team

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