University of the People to offer HE to refugees

An online university has teamed up with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to offer tuition-free, accredited HE to refugees and asylum seekers

November 23, 2014

The University of the People, which uses open-source technology and open educational resources to offer low-cost degrees in computer science and business administration, will partner with the UNHCR to admit refugees and asylum seekers even in cases where their previous educational achievement is difficult to prove, because of missing documentation.  

Twenty-five refugee students have received a scholarship so far, meaning they will not even have to pay the administration fees charged by the university. Students without scholarships have to pay an administration fee and a charge for each examination they sit, with the total cost of a full, accredited degree coming to around £2,000.  

Among those with a scholarship is Jamal Khamiss, a -year-old from Darfur, Sudan. In 2006, his home village was destroyed, and some of his family members were killed. He managed to finish high school and intended to go to university, but circumstances forced him to emigrate to Israel.

“We are reaching out to the least upwardly mobile population – refugees and asylum seekers – the ones most in line with our mission, to open the gates to higher education to all qualified students and those most in need of education in order to overcome other barriers,” said Shai Reshef, president and founder of the University of the People.

The University of the People, headquartered in Pasadena, California, gained accreditation earlier this year, and is currently developing a third degree programme in health sciences.  Founded in 2009, it has now enrolled students from 150 countries, and is supported by a network of more than 3,000 volunteers. Its Council of Presidents is chaired by New York University President John Sexton, and includes former University of Oxford vice-chancellor Sir Colin Lucas and chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, Nicholas Dirks.

In addition to the UNHCR, the refugee and asylum seeker programme is supported by Amnesty International, the African Refugee Development Centre and HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

chris.parr@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Research Nurse UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Fully-funded Studentships In Social Sciences NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)
Fully-funded Studentships In Science and Technology NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)
Fully-funded Studentships within Nottingham Law School NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY (NTU)

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Microlight pilot flies with flock of cranes

Reports of UK-based researchers already thinking of moving overseas after Brexit vote

Portrait montage of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

From Donald Trump to Brexit, John Morgan considers the challenges of a new international political climate