University of the People Offers Tuition-Free Health Degree

(Photo: Luis Llerena, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Luis Llerena, Creative Commons)

The first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university in the world has introduced new associate and bachelor degree programs in Health Studies.

The announcement from the University of the People came just one month after the institution announced the addition of an MBA program to its offerings of associate and bachelor's programs in Business Administration and Computer Science, reports Rupali Mukherjee for The Times of India.

The Health Studies degree was created in an effort to help put an end to the healthcare worker shortage and health crises, including the Zika virus. Courses offered through the program will offer participants a general understanding of community and public health theories and models, as well as how they can be put to use in real-world situations.

The new program is set to receive guidance from several well-known figures including Columbia University professor Darcy Brisbane Kelley, Nobel Laureate and president of Rockefeller University Torsten N. Wiesel, and Princeton University professor Dalton Conley.

"We realize that in most countries, the demand for healthcare workers is huge. The critical shortage of skilled health-care workers, which manifested previously with SARS coronavirus, Ebola, and now with the Zika virus, has brought alarming attention to the fact that governments are unable to effectively handle global health crises partially due to insufficient, quality programmes to address the shortfall. UoPeople's Health Studies programme will prepare health workers for the workforce as well as prepare students for advanced studies within the medical field. We believe that in developed as well as developing countries, this is a priority that must be addressed," said Shai Reshef, the President of University of People.

The University will begin enrollment into the program in September 2016. While there will not be any tuition charges or textbook fees associated with any of the courses, students will pay a $100 end of course assessment fee. Those fees will total $2,000 for an Associate's degree and $4,000 for a Bachelor's degree. A number of scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fees.

In a separate announcement earlier this month, UoPeople released notice of a partnership with UC Berkeley. The partnership will allow top Associate degree students from UoPeople to be considered for transfer admission to UC Berkeley's 4-year degree programs.

There are currently over 3,000 students enrolled in programs with UoPeople from more than 180 countries. That number is expected to double in the next year. The use of open-source technology, Open Educational Resources and the assistance of volunteers has allowed UoPeople to offer tuition-free education on a massive scale.

Founded in 2009, the University of the People is the first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university in the world that is dedicated to increasing access to higher education. The University offers the ability to study to qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal or personal constraints.

UoPeople has partnered with a number of other institutions around the world, including Yale ISP Law School for research purposes; New York University (NYU) and University of California, Berkeley, for the admittance of students; Microsoft for scholarships, access to certificate programs, mentoring, internships and employment opportunities; and Hewlett-Packard, for general support, scholarships for women and internships.

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