An ultra-low-cost college degree | Shai Reshef
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An ultra-low-cost college degree | Shai Reshef

I would like to share with you
a new model of higher education, a model that, once expanded, can enhance the collective intelligence of millions of creative
and motivated individuals that otherwise would be left behind. Look at the world. Pick a place and focus on it. You will find humans
chasing higher education. Let’s meet some of them. Patrick. Patrick was born in Liberia
to a family of 20 children. During the civil war, he and his family were forced
to flee to Nigeria. There, in spite of his situation, he graduated high school
with nearly perfect grades. He wanted to continue to higher education, but due to his family
living on the poverty line, he was soon sent to South Africa to work and send back money
to feed his family. Patrick never gave up his dream
of higher education. Late at night, after work, he surfed the net,
looking for ways to study. Meet Debbie. Debbie is from Florida. Her parents didn’t go to college,
and neither did any of her siblings. Debbie has worked all her life, pays taxes, supports herself
month to month, proud of the American dream, a dream that just won’t be complete
without higher education. But Debbie doesn’t have the savings
for higher education. She can’t pay the tuition. Neither could she leave work. Meet Wael. Wael is from Syria. He’s experiencing firsthand the misery, fear and failure
imposed on his country. He’s a big believer in education. He knew that if he could find
an opportunity for higher education, an opportunity to get ahead of the rest, he has a better chance to survive
in a world turned upside down. The higher education system failed Patrick, Debbie and Wael, exactly as it is failing
millions of potential students — millions that graduate high school, millions that are qualified
for higher education, millions that want to study
yet cannot access it for various reasons. First: financial. Universities are expensive;
we all know it. In large parts of the world, higher education is unattainable
for an average citizen. This is probably the biggest problem
facing our society. Higher education stopped
being a right for all and became a privilege for the few. Second: cultural. Students who are qualified
for higher education can afford — want to study — cannot, because it is not decent,
it is not a place for a woman. This is the story of countless women
in Africa, for example, prevented from higher education
because of cultural barriers. And here comes the third reason: UNESCO stated that in 2025, 100 million students will be deprived
of higher education, simply because there will not be enough
seats to accommodate them, to meet the demand. They will take a placement test,
they will pass it, but they still won’t have access,
because there are no places available. These are the reasons
I founded University of the People, a nonprofit, tuition-free,
degree-granting university to give an alternative, to create an alternative,
to those who have no other; an alternative that will be
affordable and scalable, an alternative that will disrupt
the current education system, and open the gates to higher education
for every qualified student regardless of what they earn,
where they live, or what society says about them. Patrick, Debbie and Wael are only three examples
out of the 1,700 accepted students from 143 countries. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) We didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just looked at what wasn’t working and used the amazing power of the Internet to get around it. We set out to build a model that will cut down almost entirely
the cost of higher education. And that’s how we did it. First, bricks and mortar cost money. Universities have expenses
that virtual universities don’t. We don’t need to pass these expenses
on to our students. They don’t exist. We also don’t need
to worry about capacity. There are no limits of seats
in virtual university. Actually, nobody needs to stand
at the back of the lecture hall. Textbooks are also something
our students don’t need to buy. By using open educational resources and the generosity of professors who are putting their material up
free and accessible, we don’t need to send
our students to buy textbooks. All of our materials come free. Even professors, the most expensive line
in any university balance sheet, come free to our students. Over 3,000 of them, including presidents, vice chancellors,
professors and academic advisers from top universities such as NYU,
Yale, Berkeley and Oxford, came on board to help our students. Finally, is our belief
in peer-to-peer learning. We use this sound pedagogical model to encourage our students
from all over the world to interact and study together, and also to reduce the time
our professors need to labor over class assignments. If the Internet has made us
a global village, this model can develop
its future leadership. Look how we do it. We only offer two programs: business administration
and computer science, the two programs most in demand worldwide, the two programs that are likeliest
to help our students find a job. When our students are accepted, they are placed in a small classroom
of 20 to 30 students, to ensure that those who need
personalized attention get it. Moreover, for every nine-week course,
they meet a new peer, a whole new set of students
from all over the world. Every week, when they go
into the classroom, they find the lecture notes of the week, the reading assignment,
the homework assignment, and the discussion question,
which is the core of our studies. Every week, every student must contribute
to the class discussion, and also must comment
on the contribution of others. This way, we open our students’ minds, we develop a positive shift in attitude
toward different cultures. By the end of each week,
the students take a quiz, hand in their homework, which are assessed by their peers
under the supervision of the instructors, get a grade, move to the next week. By the end of the course,
they take the final exam, get a grade, and follow
to the next course. We open the gates for higher education
for every qualified student. Every student with a high school diploma, sufficient English and Internet connection can study with us. We don’t use audio, we don’t use video. Broadband is not necessary. Any student from any part of the world
with any Internet connection can study with us. We are tuition free. All we ask our students to cover
is the cost of their exams, 100 dollars per exam. A full-time bachelor’s degree
student taking 40 courses will pay 1,000 dollars a year, 4,000 dollars for the entire degree. And for those who cannot afford even this, we offer them a variety of scholarships. It is our mission that nobody
will be left behind for financial reasons. With 5,000 students in 2016,
this model is financially sustainable. Five years ago, it was a vision. Today, it is a reality. Last month, we got the ultimate
academic endorsement to our model. University of the People
is now fully accredited. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) With this accreditation,
it’s our time now to scale up. We have demonstrated that our model works. I invite universities
and, even more important, developing countries’ governments, to replicate this model to ensure that the gates of higher
education will open widely. A new era is coming — an era that will witness the disruption
of the higher education model as we know it today, from being a privilege for the few to becoming a basic right,
affordable and accessible for all. Thank you. (Applause)

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “An ultra-low-cost college degree | Shai Reshef

  1. its a good chance for people from developing countries but i dont believe it could replace face-to-face education. The best way to make education affordable for all people is to make it free. In many european countries its already free but US (and many more developed countries) wants to make money even on its own citizens' education

  2. thank for all i like it and I want develop my education in this way but I don't have cart of payment for that.

  3. I tried hire education once; hired me a lawyer to get me out of trouble, but his fancy words didn't stop me from going to jail OR reoffending a dozen or so times since…here's what I think about yer dang book lernins! *spits*

  4. The essence of getting a degree is to get a job,now my question is this,will i get a job in countries like USA or EU with this degree? food for thought

  5. Any uofpeople graduates here that can testify success of hire after the degree?? And was it hard to get the job??

  6. Welcome to politicheskaj partij WOLJ – ВОЛЯ Светлана Пеунова Лада Русь !
    Смотри проекты Обманутая Россия !

  7. It is the right step in the right direction. Commercialization of education should be checked. Great job UoP…

  8. Sir i Appreciate your work..i am from pakistan..i did my FSc from governmenr colllge..i got 86% maarks..i want to get higher education…i really want but but due to financilal problem could not…afford..pleasae ccan you help me..

  9. My dream is that OUN, World bank and other institutions create holistic autopoietic university. They did fail, but Shai Reshef is the best example that it is not utopia.

  10. its $100 per exam. financial aid is available but please remember that not everything is free in this world. Research for your specific situation to be sure this school is the best choice for you. I'm going to give it a shot with their health science section so I'll see how it goes.

  11. Mr. Reshef is just an entrepreneur taking advantage of philanthropist in the US (like Bill and Melinda Gates), the UoP is getting millions in donations, they are not paying teachers (they have teachers from elite universities teaching for free). They charge 100 $/exam to 1700 students= 170000 $/ exam, 10 exams per year, 1.7M $/ year + donations.

    Ask someone from the countries you are "helping" how much does it cost to pay for tuition and fees in a private university, here in my country(Paraguay) you pay 80 $/mo for a real expensive university.

    It may sound great for people living in the US and they may think that the UoP is "low cost" but Mr. Reshef is fooling people inside the US telling that he is helping people from third world countries or he just don't have a clue about how the third world, that he claims to help, really works.

  12. i need a help, like tuition fees, living allowance, accommodation facilities, and other related facilities

  13. Very amazing opportunity, I knew this was it for me, the day I learnt about UOPEOPLE. I applied and got admitted. a dream I thought would never come true might be possible with in a year. Thank you so much, I look forward to accomplishing my MBA at the University of the People.

  14. GREAT MAN, GREAT CONTRIBUTION .So many people have money but so few come up with something so great to create and leave behind.. THANK YOU!.

  15. Questions for any UOP students or staff, is the bachelor degree from UOP internationally recognized? I am currently in New Zealand and are quite fascinated by this idea of affordable education in UOP.

  16. This may not be the answer for everyone – but it truly does fill a gap in the market and will provide so many more people the opportunity to obtain earn a degree.  This is a brilliant program!

  17. Well this is a no brained. I'm enrolling. Specifically because a Bachelors Degree is now the minimum education requirement to make a living wage. But also because I want to teach English abroad.

  18. Really really good! It's the best way for me to persuade my dream. University of People is still my future dream to earn my degree. I'm preparing myself especially my English. Once I'm ready I'll go for it.
    I used to fill up the application form, but I was asked to pay the registration fee $60, I do not have any English proficiency to proof my English. The only way to pay the registration fee first then take English class (provide by UoP) If I'm not wrong. Taking the English course I have to pay another $50 even I don't pass the exam. For this reason makes me worry to go for it or wait. But I decided to wait preparing myself first when I'm ready I'll jump into it. I believe UoP will still keep my account validation until I get back.

  19. I'd like to see an update on this. Are there any testimonials anyone can give that have gotten a Bachelor's or Master's or even an Associates from this online university?

  20. Hello everybody. Who can answer my question about can I apply for same English courses if I'm steel at school and have the plan to enter UoPeople in the Sommer of next year?

  21. Indeed I have much pressure and the load of the economy that was not fit to what I opt for in acquiring my education and through this TED talk, It really motivated me and It was an awesome advice, thank you so much. Hope underprivileged student especially financially disadvantaged will benefit from such curriculum.

  22. THIS is a great Jew Boy!! Jesus Christe (Good pun intended! hehe).
    God Bless the Israelis!
    Oh please, don't be a deutsche and leave a confrontational comment under this one.

  23. Mmm, the cost of the entire course $4000.00 is very huge amount. That is almost GHc 20,000 (Ghana Cedis). That almost my 1 year salary as a professional graduate teacher. In fact still too high.

  24. Truly impressed!  University of the People (UoPeople) believes that access to higher education is a key ingredient in the promotion of world peace and global economic development.  Wow, that is powerful!!

  25. In my opinion, from all universities, IOU is the most affordable one in the world. IOU stands for Islamic Online University. Accredited and legally operated.

  26. Am Bulis Peter Rejab from South Sudan looking forward to have good quilty Education so that i can be able to change my people, because the are now in high risk of losing life every time, i thought that because of the poor quality Education that we have that why am much interesting to attend this class, and i will or i will not if am not stong, but by the will of God i can .
    thanks God for this opportunity

  27. Nice introduction. I am ambitious to join but I still would like if I can know:
    1. The type of degree you are providing as I am looking for masters or PhD level.
    2. As I am a student from Ethiopian I also expect the most possible lowest amount of fee.

  28. I tried attending UOP a couple of years ago, but I withdrew because I kept getting low grades on my assignments from my peers, however when I showed my work to professionals I know, they all thought my work should have gotten much higher grades. I feel like there are a lot of people reviewing assignments whose first language isn’t English, so they can’t properly review your work the way a native speaker might. It made the process extremely frustrating. I was extremely passionate about getting my education and worked very hard on my assignments, and for them to get such low grades from my peers was disappointing and really killed my morale.

  29. can i use master degree from UOP in immigration program to Canada is it certified by WES in Canada ??

  30. It will only help people saving money in developed countries because really needy people still cannot afford that cost .for eg . 4000 $ is still too costly here in Nepal . So it is still not practical for poor countries like ours.

  31. I would also like the Khan academy to be accredited, worldwide in the best case so drop outs or people over the wold can use it in homeschooling and be able to support themselves by working by the side.

  32. getting my associates at a local community college. 300 DOLLARS PER CLASS. Not including books. I just get on with it.. pay to play at this point

  33. India is also provide good courses online which is called nptel cources which are also free of cost the teachers are from IIT indias top university great teachers and good engineering and management courses

  34. how can I go about it, I have diploma in hospitality management ICM board and did marketing certificate although I didn't submit my assignment because of funds. as of now I really need to join you and start studying with you. but I want to study business management

  35. Why I Quit the University of the People (it's trash):

  36. I am currently a student at University of the People. I chose to build a home for my family and was ready to give up on higher education and just like magic – UoPeople to the rescue! I like being to pay as I go. Still a challenge but a sacrifice I am willing to make.

  37. This is a blessing especially during hard times like now with Government shut down. Education is very important to open up opportunities for all. No One Left Behind.

  38. This is a wonderful goal. I have taken online classes set up like this before with Coursera and others. The problem is in having other students grade your work and limited access to professors who aren't really paid. The students who aren't proficient enough in English cannot be trusted to grade others work. And some times it takes too much time to get an admins attention when you are graded unjustly. The tests are repeated questions from quizzes and it can be completed as many times as needed till you get 100%. Accredited or not, I honestly don't think this is such a good education. True, there is no tuition, but you need about $4K to pay for the exams unless you can get a scholarship. Maybe if you live in these places then it is your only real option, but please look at other online schools that cost under $10K: like WGU, Herzing, and Peirce College.


  40. Sadly, any employer looking at this degree will swipe left if someone from Harvard shows up on their doorstep.

    I hate to say it, but the curse of credentialism is still evident in today's job market.

  41. Great talk Mr. Reshef, being myself a student at UoPeople this is without a doubt the beginning of something big!

  42. Thanks for being there uopeople. I am so happy i found your institution. I can now accomplish my long life goals

  43. hi there. i am starting my english composition one which will qualify me to my Masters. however' I don't know how to attend live lesson ( if there are)

  44. I am not a member of the university of the people yet but this man has made his friends and families proud to help the needy. thumbs up!!!


  46. Good morning, thanks for this great opportunity to study. I applied few years back and was given an admission but could not continue due to the fact that I am financially incapacitated. I love the university and I have campaigning and informing people about you school. I even applied this year yet the same problem. Is there not away the authorities will have me out. I really desire to be a student of Uop. Please. Rev Kelechi Owereoma

  47. Unfortunately instructors don't supervise grading by peers. This is NOT encouraging. Also, scholarships are limited.

  48. I am aware University of the People offers degrees acceptable world over and is accredited in the US! Why is the older Atlantic International University not accredited by any US accrediting body for all this long making its degrees referred to as "fake"?!

  49. I am the student at UoPeople it is the best educational environment to be professional in your field. Thanks UoPeople

  50. Really! It's free!! Not at all. One can easily find a suitable course in developing countries spending that much money which they want as a exam fee and so on.

  51. I am enrolled in my M.Ed currently. It is not easy work and requires commitment. It is a great course. I am improving my teaching ability and a range of other skills.

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