Here is a Christmas-Hannukah gift you can give yourself, a loved one, a friend, or the world---A university education online for free. Is this some kind of trick?
Nope, it isn't a trick. It is a new university called University of the People (appropriately named) but the degrees are limited in scope right now since the University is fairly new. But the important ones are there.
It is the world's first tuition-free online academic institution dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education.
Just go to their website and check it out for yourself.
The vision of University of the People is that "universal access to education is a key to world peace and global economic development." I agree and I am sure most people would.
Their program is all online. In the U.S., approximately 4 million students are currently enrolled in online education many of them in University of Phoenix, a for profit institution that has a large variety of course offerings, but it is expensive. On the other hand, University of the People provides an unprecedented tuition-free online academic experience to a worldwide-audience.
So far they offer four degree programs. All of these degrees are in areas where there is job growth---business administration and computer science. In the U.S. we have hundreds of computer science jobs that go unfilled each year. We need more computer science majors to meet our technological needs worldwide. We need businesspeople to be entrepreneurs and start new businesses.
For those who are job hunting, you might want to consider signing up for one of these courses They are accessible on your computer at home for free. No commuting, no travel expenses. It is right there on your desk.
Here are the four degrees offered at the University of the People:
1)Associate (A.S.-B.A.) and 2) Bachelor (B.S.-B.A.) degrees in Business Administration
3)Associate (A.S.-C.S.) and 4) Bachelor (B.S.-C.S.) degrees in Computer Science.
How can University of the People offer degrees for free? It is a non-profit organization and it accepts donations; these donations support many of the students. The University is supported by companies, foundations and individuals. Some students pay the low fees.
Presently, it has 1200 students from 121 countries around the world. It costs just $4,000K for a student to go to the university for four years. Compare that with the tuition costs of $100,000 for four years at many universities.
The founder Shai Reshef understands the education world. He is an experienced entrepreneur who was Chairman of the Kidum Group a for-profit educational services company which he later sold to Kaplan, one of the world's largest education companies and a subsidiary of the Washington Post. Business Week recently wrote an article about Shai and the university.
Those who would like to support a student at the University of the People, can donate online. Any amount is welcome and it is tax deductible. Imagine being able to change someone's life for the better. Turns out that it would cost only $6 million to educate everyone in the world at University of the People, according to Shai. Not much when you consider how much we spend on defense.
For those of you who want give yourself a gift of a degree, go online and fill out an application to enroll. It is an exciting opportunity and the time of year to be giving.
Follow Esther Wojcicki on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EstherWojcicki