Founded in 2009 by educational entrepreneur Shai Reshef, University of the People is the world's first tuition-free completely online university, offering Associate and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science. Students are asked to pay a one-time application fee ($50), and $100 end-of-course final examination fees. Aside from that, there is no tuition and all courses, books, and resources are provided free of charge online. UoPeople is approved to grant degrees by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), and is currently working to seek accreditation.
In keeping with its mission, UoPeople strives to ensure that no qualified individual is excluded from a chance at higher education for financial reasons. To assist students in financial need with their examination fees, UoPeople has dedicated student scholarship funds. Corporate sponsors include Hewlett-Packard's sponsorship of 100 HP Scholars as part of the UoPeople Women Scholarship Fund, as well as Intel Foundation's sponsorship of women students from Haiti. In the near future, UoPeople will launch a Micro-Scholarship Portal, the first of its kind, to allow donors to contribute to individual students.
To date, the university has been funded by Shai Reshef, and by grants from various foundations including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Kauffman Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, The Goodman Family Foundation, and The Passport Foundation, among others. With $6 million more, the University will be self-sustainable. In its quest to reach sustainability, UoPeople is currently in discussions with several foundations regarding grants, and is always seeking philanthropic and corporate donations.