When it comes to finding an online college, navigating the wide range of options can be tricky. We’re here to help by telling you about quality institutions where obtaining an education online isn’t just easy; it’s rewarding too. Today, we’re focusing on an American-accredited online university known as the University of the People. According to the school, UotP is the “first non-profit, American-accredited, tuition-free online university” globally. As a successful online school, they have both a high graduation rate and a very high employment rate for graduates of the college. But what makes them so unique, and how does going to school there work? And what’s that “tuition-free” thing all about? Here’s a full breakdown that will answer those questions and more.
For many people, tuition is perhaps one of the biggest barriers to getting a college education. The truth is that college can be expensive. Whether through books, lab fees, or course expenses, colleges charge a significant amount of money to take their classes. At UotP, there isn’t any tuition. Instead, they charge assessment fees per completed course. For undergraduate courses, it’s $120. Graduate courses run at $240. Transferring credits from another school runs $17/credit, which isn’t bad compared to for-profit schools. The money they earn from these fees goes back to improving program quality and investing in their students, rather than into some company’s pockets. UotP also understands that this may still not be accessible for some and offer scholarships to qualified individuals wishing to attend the university.
Accessibility and Flexibility
Another significant hurdle to getting a college education (especially when you’re a non-traditional student) is course flexibility. When you work full time, it can be challenging to find the time to attend classes physically. Online colleges offer excellent flexibility here, simply because you can do coursework on your own time. All you need to do is have a computer (or smartphone), a good internet connection, and the ability to meet deadlines. Many online courses are taught via videotaped lectures, forum questions, interactivity through a learning management system, and proctored exams. If you can set aside some time each day to work on your classes, you can still get a high-quality education while living your life and working.
One of UotP’s major strengths is in the degree programs it offers. Prospective students will find plenty of options for a wide array of careers. Here’s what they offer:
Business – UotP’s largest degree program area is in business. Students will come away with knowledge of running a business, leading a team, solving problems, and much more. UotP offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in business. Getting an MBA is possible, and certificates are available in marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, and finance. All of these can lead to steady employment in often lucrative business fields.
Computer Science – if you love to code and work on the application of various technologies to our modern world, computer science is the way to go. Students gain valuable problem-solving and analytical skills while being armed with the knowledge of how to design, implement, and work with various operating systems. Learning different programming languages and developing mobile apps are integral parts of the program, providing an all-around comprehensive associate or bachelor’s degree program.
Health Science – available at both the associate and bachelor’s level, degrees in health science covers everything aspiring health care professionals and scientists need to know about going into this essential field. Students can specialize and get a certificate in epidemiology, human biology, public health services, and behavioral health
Education – The school offers a Master of Education degree where the courses cover diversity and inclusion, teaching in different types of classrooms, learning theory, curriculum design, and additional advanced courses to aid future teachers in just about any learning environment or scenario.
If any of these sounds good, it might be a good time to take the next step and start your online education soon.
How it works
Prospective students interested in attending the school can request information from the University of the People website. There is a small application fee, and you can enroll from anywhere in the world. For the classes themselves, the University of the People uses Moodle as its LMS for each course. The LMS guides students through the course and makes it easy to access faculty/instructors who can answer any questions students may have throughout the class. At the University of the People, there’s a strong emphasis on coursework built from reading assignments and discussions with virtual labs for courses that require them. UotP also has a robust support system in place with communication and resources to help their students thrive.
Finally, what makes the University of the People a legitimate college is it’s accreditation. Accreditation is a process by which schools and institutes of higher learning are assessed to ensure they’re meeting certain educational standards and helping students achieve theIr goals. Schools can receive accreditation at both the national or international level from one of the six regulatory agencies that cover accreditation for institutes of higher learning. Accrediting agencies have to be recognized by the Department of Education for their accreditation process to be seen as valid and recognized as the prestigious honor it is. University of the People is an accredited institution (through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, or DEAC). Their degrees are just as valid as any other accredited institution in the United States of America.