University of the People is pleased to announce the introduction of the UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund, which was formally announced by UoPeople President Shai Reshef on July 11th at the DLDWomen12.

The UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund is dedicated to assisting in equalizing both the University’s and regional gender inequalities in higher education. Currently, only 20% of University of the People’s student body is female, and UoPeople strongly desires to change this ratio.

Hewlett-Packard is the first corporate sponsor, with a pledge to fund 100 female students towards the pursuit of their Associate Degrees.

Gabi Zedlmayer, Vice President, Sustainability and Social Innovation, HP explains, “HP has a longstanding commitment to global citizenship, education, and gender equality. We are supporting UoPeople in their most critical mission to change the lives of many women through education and technology. This decision supports our goal to transform teaching and learning through innovation and technology and to help the women around the world to advance professionally.”

University of the People is exceptionally pleased the receive support from HP to fund 100 women, and hopes to be able to reach and empower 1,000 women with your help.

To donate to educating women around the globe via the UoPeople Women Scholarship fund, visit:

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UoPeople is currently accepting new applications until JULY 8, 2012, at which point, the next period to start a new application will be in September of 2012.

As a non-profit academic institution dedicated to opening access to higher education, UoPeople has succeeded in cutting down almost the entire cost of higher education.

In order to remain sustainable, we charge small processing fees for application and examination processing. Applicants are charged a non-refundable onetime $10-$50 Application Processing Fee to cover the cost for us to review and process an application. The amount charged is based on the applicant’s place of residence – applicants from developing countries pay a lower amount.

In September, when new application acceptance will re-open, we will be introducing an Exam Processing Fee of $100 per end-of-course exam. Applicants who apply starting in September and become students, are expected to pay this fee. However, for those individuals who are unable to do so, UoPeople will have a Micro-Scholarship Portal that will enable donors to contribute directly to individual students in need of assistance. Additionally, students may apply for a UoPeople scholarship.

Our aim, as it has always been, is to see to it that no student will be denied the right to access higher education.  We will remain tuition-free, meaning students will not be charged for their educational instruction, course materials or annual enrollment. Additionally, we will seek to ensure that no qualified student be denied studying with UoPeople for financial reasons.

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Awards $500,000 Grant to Support UoPeople in the Accreditation Process

University of the People is thrilled to announce its work toward accreditation has been recognized with a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Accreditation is important for UoPeople, our students and our graduates, as it will afford students significantly better employment prospects upon graduation – thus further improving their lives. For this reason, we are all extremely excited at the added boost by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In addition to providing direct financial assistance, the grant further demonstrates the ever-growing support by foundations, academia and individuals around the world for UoPeople’s work and attainment of accreditation.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant follows recent awards by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Intel Foundation. UoPeople is certainly on it’s way to reaching the $6 million needed to remain sustainable. With your help, we’ll reach this point.

To donate:

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UoPeople Reaches Over 1,000,000 Supporters on Facebook!


More than a million individuals support University of the People on Facebook, showcasing the exceptional support of UoPeople’s mission to open the gates to higher education for everyone. UoPeople is second in the number of supporters out of all universities on Facebook only to Harvard University.

UoPeople uses the internet culture of Facebook and social networking to bring higher education to the world, tuition-free. As the University is built on the concept of people sharing, learning, teaching, and helping each other online, Facebook is an integral part of the daily activity of UoPeople– from admissions, throughout student’s studies, and all the way through graduation. Applicants and students alike receive feedback on their questions via the University Page and student’s network amongst themselves on student-created UoPeople Facebook groups.

The global presence of UoPeople cannot be understated with support hailing from all corners of the world including Ghana, United States, Iraq, Haiti, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Peru, United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Egypt, France, Sri Lanka, Canada, Palestine, Jordan, Hungary, Tunisia, Philippines, Brazil, Morocco, Mauritius, Argentina, Cambodia and more.

UoPeople, as a non-profit, relies on the voices of our supporters to spread the word. Thank you for being a part of opening access to higher education worldwide!

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The Establishment of UoPeople’s Presidents Council

UoPeople is proud to announce the establishment of a Presidents Council.

Bringing together decades of experience, a wealth of knowledge and global perspective, the Presidents Council is integral in advancing the mission of UoPeople: to democratize higher education with tuition-free, online programs designed to open access for students otherwise marginalized due to financial, geographic, personal or societal constraints. In addition to semi-annual meetings, the President’s Council offers input and guidance to UoPeople President Shai Reshef throughout the year.

UoPeople’s Presidents Council is comprised of presidential leadership from top-tier universities around the world whose caliber and expertise contribute greatly to the growth of UoPeople. University of the People is proud to have the supportive guidance of the following distinguished Presidents Council members:

Sir Colin Lucas was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1997 to 2004 and has recently retired as Warden of Rhodes Trust, the charitable organization responsible for bringing some of the world’s finest scholars to Oxford.

President John Sexton is the fifteenth President of New York University, as well as the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law and NYU Law School’s Dean Emeritus, having served as Dean for 14 years. He joined NYU’s Law School’s faculty in 1981, was named the School’s Dean in 1988, and was designated NYU’s President in 2001.

Rector Emeritus Mrs. Michèle Gendreau-Massaloux, PhD has extensive educational leadership experience including being Rector of the Academy of Paris, Chancellor of the Universities, and Rector of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) which associates more than 700 Universities around the world.

Professor Devang Khakhar is the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology (ITT) Bombay as of January 01, 2009. He received his Bachelor’s in Technology from IIT Delhi in 1981 and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1986. He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay in January 1987, and has been with the institute since then.

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg is President Emeritus and University Professor of Public Service at George Washington University. He served as GW’s 15th president from 1988 to 2007. Trachtenberg came to GW from the University of Hartford, where he was president for 11 years.

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University of the People Appoints Talented New Individuals

University of the People is pleased to announce our newest appointments – all very talented individuals playing key roles in greatly helping UoPeople further progress with our impactful mission. Please extend a warm welcome with us to:


Mrs. Ayelet Oron-Gutmark, Chief Operating Officer, University of the People
Mrs. Oron-Gutmark has many years of experience in finance, including having served as Vice President of a Venture Capital Fund and as VP Equity Research of a U.S. Investment Bank.  Mrs. Oron-Gutmark holds an MBA from the Kellogg-Recanati International Program.


Dr. Arik Lifschitz, Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Planning, University of the People
Dr. Lifschitz was previously the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in New York, and prior to this post, an Assistant Professor at Stanford University.  Dr. Lifschitz holds his Phd from Columbia University, in addition to the Law Degree and MBA he holds.


Dr. Ariella Zeller, Dean of Student Affairs, University of the People
Dr. Zeller holds a BA in Women’s Studies, an MA in American Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan. Prior to UoPeople, Dr. Zeller worked in Student Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan.

Mrs. Ayelet Oron-Gutmark, Dr. Arik Lifschitz and Dr. Ariella Zeller are all passionate about UoPeople’s mission of opening access to higher education worldwide and the help they will be contributing. We look forward to the enhancements they bring, and welcome them to University of the People!

For full biographies, please see:

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Partnering for Technology and Peace in Palestine

University of the People is pleased to have recently announced moving UoPeople’s IT development into Ramallah, Palestine via a technology partnership with Asal Technologies. Palestine is a region that has been through an enormous amount in the last century, and it is the acknowledgment of the economic situation in Palestine that contributed in large part to the reason UoPeople chose to partner with ASAL Technologies for its technology needs. The partnership symbolizes more than just two companies partnering for technology services. It symbolizes the desire on the part of UoPeople to advance the economic opportunities provided from within economically challenged areas (such as Palestine) in its effort to assist in building a more peaceful world; as well as the growing development of sophisticated technology services being provided from Palestine.

University of the People is dedicated to opening access to higher education for all individuals currently constrained due to financial, geographic or societal constraints. The vision of the University is grounded in the belief that access to education is a key ingredient in the promotion of world peace and global economic development.  Additionally, it is through an individual’s heightened exposure to global diversity and personal economic growth that peace occurs on individual levels, spreading to effect communities and countries – ultimately helping make the world a better place. In keeping with this belief, UoPeople has students accepted from 126 countries who study in classrooms alongside 20 to 30 students hailing from other countries than their own – exposing them to each other and assisting in global understanding.  Furthermore, the programs taught at UoPeople – Business Administration and Computer Science – were specifically chosen with the knowledge that these provide the best opportunities for global employment. Combining exposure to diversity with optimal chances of employment post graduation align with UoPeople’s dedication towards building a more peaceful world.

While the University is doing its part in educating individuals worldwide in its vision for a more peaceful world, it is also dedicated to providing economic opportunities in financially challenged areas to help entire communities – working in this manner to even further its peace efforts. As such, the decision made to open its technology infrastructure services in Palestine was the perfect action to take to help the region economically. Furthermore, the University is also currently exploring the option of opening a back office in Ramallah in addition to its partnership with Asal Technologies to stimulate more job and opportunity creation.

University of the People’s partnership with ASAL Technologies serves to additionally exemplify the University’s commitment and dedication to building global operations. In keeping with the fact that its students come from every corner of the world, the operations behind UoPeople are global as well. UoPeople’s volunteers and academic leadership hail from countries scattered worldwide. Additionally, the University realizes the need for its educational services within the Muslim world and has accepted numerous students from Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and others; as well as more than two thirds of UoPeople’s close to 600,000 Facebook supporters hail from Muslim countries. Partnering for the University’s technology services in Palestine is compatible with UoPeople’s interest in building global operations and strengthening relationships all over the world.

It was while searching around the world for a technology partner capable of servicing its extensive technology demands and high technology standards that the University was thrilled to have found quality technological services stemming from Palestine. Recently, Palestine has seen a fair share of growth in technology services, and ASAL Technologies is leading the way as the largest IT company in the West Bank. Asal Technologies’ list of clients includes companies such as Cisco, Intel and Volvo. When asked about the UoPeople-Asal Technologies partnership, Murad Tahboub, Founder & General Director, ASAL Technologies, explains how, “working with an American University is a sign that the world is gaining trust in the technology services coming from Ramallah, Palestine.” Increasingly, Palestine is proving itself a viable region for corporate outsourcing or partnering of services, and undoubtedly, the human resources available from Palestine will be utilized on a greater scale by global corporations and NGO’s.

The UoPeople-Asal Technologies partnership is exciting in regards to the economic development it is providing in Palestine; the path towards global peace it is helping to build; and the further growth of UoPeople’s worldwide operations it provides for. Perhaps most noteworthy is that this partnership also serves to highlight the quality human capital resources available to the world from within Palestine – incredible resources that should not be overlooked or forgotten in corporate or non-profit organization’s decision making.


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Philanthropic Giving in Higher Education

Every year, billions are pumped into University Endowment Funds. The $32 billion Harvard has sitting in a bank earned it $6 million every ten hours on interest alone. Recently, University of Southern California (USC) announced a $6 billion dollar fundraising campaign. Yet, across the board, tuition rates have risen four times faster than the rate of inflation, and an endless number of individuals worldwide are priced out of education. The community colleges what were created to assist in providing an affordable option to service individuals in need throughout the United States are struggling to make ends meet in the midst of massive budget cuts. The gap between available, affordable education and education for the privileged elite isn’t just growing – it’s actually creating a situation where soon there may not be many affordable options left if there isn’t a disruptive change.

It doesn’t need to be so difficult for low income tiered individuals to attain higher education and create opportunities to break out of poverty and achieve their dreams. With only one thousandth of the $6 billion USC is asking, the tuition-free, nonprofit University of the People (UoPeople) will be fully financially sustainable. While UoPeople is an excellent institution, it can’t possibly service alone the hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide in need. Thus, the hope is that universities, governments, and nonprofits will follow suit to adopt the innovative UoPeople model and provide additional affordable offerings worldwide and disrupt the current status quo.

Philanthropic giving in education is a beautiful gift to the world and future generations. For only $6 million, UoPeople will be able to educate tens of thousands of individuals, forever. Help UoPeople reach sustainability. You can change the present cycle and help make education a right for all, and not a privilege for a few.


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Exposure to Diversity and Peace

“The more contact we have with one another and the more we come to understand each other’s values, the greater will be our mutual respect.” – Dalai Lama

A couple weeks ago, I attended EMV2011: Third Worldwide Meeting on Human Values Monterrery, Mexico on September 8th – 10th 2011. This phenomenal three day call-to-action involved inspirational speeches and discussions on conscience, imagination/education, and conflict resolution/peace processes.

The Dalai Lama spoke about building harmony and peace. Additionally, I spoke about access to quality higher education for all.

As I reflect on the incredibly moving speeches given at EMV2011, I feel reinforced that the driving vision behind University of the People, which is grounded in the belief that universal access to education is a key ingredient in the promotion of world peace, is the right vision.

Education impacts not only the lives of individuals—their income, health and quality of life, but also the societies in which they live. Crime rates, social awareness, economic stability and sustainable development are often tied to the accessibility of education. Education also leads to other social benefits, such as a more socially engaged and informed citizenry, lower child mortality and better child health. It is also crucial to efforts to promote equality and world peace. Educated people are more likely to have been exposed to diversity, to new ideas and ways of thinking. Consequently, they are more likely to be open minded, accepting of difference, and, having invested in their futures, are less likely to turn to violence, crime and terrorism.

Our goal therefore should be to educate as many people as possible, particularly in regions of protracted conflict, such as the Middle East. Bringing together students considered ‘enemies’ outside the classroom, such as Israelis and Palestinians or Indians and Pakistanis, can have positive benefits throughout whole societies, as students learn that they have more in common than they would have thought, and that their commonalities outweigh their differences.

Understanding this valuable role that exposure to diversity has on promoting peace and understanding, University of the People provides students with heightened exposure to diversity. In a typical virtual classroom, twenty students or more are likely to have come from twenty or more different countries. This accelerated exposure to diversity increases the chances for mutual respect across cultures and religions, and plays a key ingredient in education’s role within the promotion of peace.

There are lessons always being learned and new challenges arising with respect to education and the fostering of peace. However, I am confident that University of the People is prepared and wholehearted in tackling these challenges as part of our continuous pursuit of building a scalable model for the future of global higher education – building not just any model, but one with the capacity to promote the development of world peace.

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The Affordable Education Route

University of the People is a part of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. As such, we think it is important to highlight important resources that assist the growth of the OER movement and recommend, for those interested in online study, that you take a look at a new resource available.

People can study almost everything online nowadays. With the support of the Gates Foundation, well-known educational author, Anya Kamenetz’s was able to put together a reference book, The Edupunk’s Guide to a DIY Credential. Available for free download, the pdf book is a great starting point if you are looking to study online as it details ways to get an affordable education. Anya starts the book off by explaining that DIY, or Do-it-Yourself, doesn’t “mean that you do it all alone. It means that the resources are in your hands and you’re driving the process.”

She further explains that, “Being an edupunk is not for the faint of heart. Without exception, the students I talked to said that being self-motivated and having good time management skills are absolutely essential for success along a DIY educational path. I would add that you need to be the type of person who’s willing to try something new, even if it’s a little unproven and untested.”

University of the People students were profiled on pages 87 and 88 of the pdf, and we would like to thank the UoPeople students who were interviewed, including those interviewed but possibly not profiled in the book, for taking the time to share their inspiring insights and valuable thoughts.

We encourage you to review Anya’s advice and the resources she details (again, it’s a free resource):

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