University of The People is now DETC Accredited

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by siersema, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. siersema

    siersema Member

  2. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Outstanding! What a game changer for the education industry!
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    This is awesome! I have to share this with the people at the other forum.
  4. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards Member

    This is a good move and good news, I wonder how it is being received in 'traditional' education channels?
  5. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Just wow. I never thought I would see this day.
  6. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Another giant step for online education and education to the masses. A degree from UOP is inexpensive not free.
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    This is by a man (Shai Reshef) with a successful background in distance education. He built up a formidable education company from scratch and subsequently sold it to the Kaplan Group - and then turned his energies to UOTP. I admire the way UOTP was able to complete the DETC accreditation process so quickly. Obviously, they didn't seek accreditation advice from Nations University. :smile: There are some big-league alliances here, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other names equally well-respected.

    There is no tuition, but there is an exam fee of $100 per course. It's said they will turn nobody away for lack of funds alone. I believe the Gates Foundation is seeing that a large number of African students will have no financial impediment to their studies. For us here, I think $2000 for a NA Associates and $4,000 for a Bachelor's is amazing. I hope UOTP succeeds even beyond the founder's expectations.

    The name reminds me a bit of the "Great Hall of the People" in Beijing, but that's perfectly OK. Great idea, great execution! :smile:

    BTW - let's call it UOTP. After all, UoP refers to a different school -- one I find it harder to be enthusiastic about. :jester:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2014
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    For this operation to get accredited, it must have been able to show stable finances--even to the blind-eyed DETC. I wonder where the money's coming from. (And no, nominal fees charged on an ability-to-pay basis and volunteer labor isn't sufficient. Someone is gathering serious cash to make this go.)

    That said, I like it. I wonder if this could be a good testing ground for innovative programs? (Innovative in terms of delivery and/or content.) Meaning, I wonder how receptive they'd be to outsiders bringing good ideas to launch? It could be a great way to get your developmental career launched, going from someone who teaches in an established program to someone who creates and delivers a program. That would be fun.
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I expect the money is coming, in large part, from charitable grants and donations (in fact, UOTP actively solicits such support). But is that a sustainable business model?

    Well, it could be, if UOTP is careful to match the enrollments with the donations. Note that their current enrollment is reported at just 700 students. So it is a relatively small operation -- much smaller than a typical US college or university, and probably even smaller than your local high school. Maybe a school that small doesn't need too many grants and donations to stay in business.

    Now obviously UOTP will become more attractive with accreditation, and so the demand for their programs is likely to increase. But even so, their enrollment targets seem surprisingly modest:

    Seems like there could easily be more than 5,000 people worldwide who might want to enroll in a low-cost degree program from an accredited US university. So why isn't that number higher? Well, maybe it's limited by the amount of funds that they expect to raise.

    If this is correct, then UOTP may have to start limiting admissions (if they aren't already doing so). If they have funding to support 5,000 students, and they get 10,000 applicants, then maybe 5,000 students get accepted and 5,000 get rejected. That approach may conflict with UOTP's stated vision of universal education -- but it is financially sustainable.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2014
  10. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    The SECOND mouse always gets the cheese. This is a big deal for the future of education in my opinion.
  11. msganti

    msganti Active Member

    Great just waiting for their masters programs...
  12. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I wonder about when they'll be in a position to take on transfer students, and how they'll be able to handle them all?
  13. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Since it is accredited, does one qualify for student loans?
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    First, UOTP would have to be willing to participate in Title IV funding. I doubt they will do this since it increases administrative costs. Since they don't charge tuition, I don't know if one could receive financial aid just to cover course exam fees.
  15. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Now that it is accredited, UOTP should be theoretically eligible to participate in federal student loan programs. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they will. Eligibility isn't granted automatically to accredited schools; UOTP would have still have to apply with the government in order to participate. Sometimes accredited schools decide not to participate, even though they are eligible to do so.

    For UOTP, participation may not be worth the bureaucratic hassle. Most UOTP students are not US citizens, so they are ineligible for federal student loans anyway. So federal loans would only help a small percentage of UOTP students: the ones with US citizenship. But UOTP is so affordable -- at around $1000 per year -- that most US citizens probably wouldn't need loans. And even if they did, then it might be easier for the school to simply offer them a small scholarship, rather than to jump through all the administrative hoops associated with federal lending programs.

    There is also the alternative of private student loans. It might not be a good idea to take out a private student loan to attend a school as inexpensive as UOTP. But if you wanted to do it, accreditation would probably make it easier to qualify for such a loan.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2014
  16. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth, but "sometimes" people like to not only use a loan, but a Pell and then get a refund for the difference toward living expenses. Personally, I hope they opt OUT of the student loan business.
  17. msganti

    msganti Active Member

    Taken straight-off their FAQ page:
    FAQ University of the People

  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Isn't this a normal thing that's not even theoretically against the rules? Else why would they ever cut you a check for the overage?
  19. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know, that's why I put the thought out there since they're not currently in a position to accept transfer credits... I wonder when they'll be and how they'll handle it.
  20. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    According to one recent news story, 75% of UOTP students are from outside the US -- and they represent 142 different countries (in fact, even most of the US students were actually born in other countries). The majority of these countries are probably in the developing world (for example, 30% of their enrollment is from Africa).

    We can safely assume that there is enormous variation in academic systems, standards, and documentation between the 142 countries that UOTP students come from. So realistically, it may not be possible to develop a fair, consistent, and inexpensive system for assigning transfer credits to UOTP students for previous study. Other schools would simply refer students in this situation to commercial degree evaluation services, but they typically charge hundreds of dollars, which is the kind of cost that UOTP is trying to avoid.

    One practical alternative might be to offer inexpensive standardized tests, which would allow students to use previously acquired knowledge to "test out" of certain course requirements. I have no idea if this is something that UOTP is actually considering.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2014

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