The world’s first tuition-free, non-profit online university began enrollment this month. The president of the University of the People (UoPeople) said the enrollment numbers had a a major boost from Chinese students.
The university’s president Shai Reshef said, ‘We do not advertise but apparently something happened in China because over 20 students registered in the last 48 hours.’
During the last few days, 27 students from across China registered with UoPeople, which provides higher education to anyone with a computer and Internet connection. The students come from 20 different Chinese cities and towns, from Handan in north China to Shanghai in the east to Harbin in the northeast part of the country.
Currently, about 200 students from over 51 countries are enrolled in the only two undergraduate programs the university offers — Computer Science and Business Administration. It is hoped to expand the program to include 15,000 students in four years.
UoPeople, which has the backing of the United Nations’ Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology (GAID), incorporates a pedagogical model which draws on e-learning, social networking coupled with open-source technology.
China View reports that while UoPeople might be ‘tuition-free,’ students do pay a nominal application fee, which runs between $15 to $50, and examination fees, which run between $10 to $100 per exam. Students must take around 40 exams during the course of their degree.