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Higher Ed in the News

Israeli entrepreneur plans free online global university

February 1, 2009

An Israeli entrepreneur with decades of experience in international education plans to start the first global, tuition-free Internet university, a nonprofit venture he has named the University of the People.

The University of the People, like other Internet-based universities, would have online study communities, weekly discussion topics, homework assignments and exams.

But in lieu of tuition, students would pay only nominal fees for enrollment ($15 to $50) and exams ($10 to $100), with students from poorer countries paying the lower fees and those from richer countries paying the higher ones.

Reshef said his new university would use active and retired professors - some paid, some volunteers along with librarians, master-level students, and professionals to develop and evaluate curriculums and oversee assessments.

Reshef plans to start small, limiting enrollment at 300 students when the university goes online in the fall and offering only bachelor’s degrees in business administration and computer science.  He hopes to build enrollment to 10,000 over five years, the level at which he said the enterprise should be self-sustaining. Startup costs would be about $5 million.


Read more in the New York Times.