In April, the first seven students will graduate from the University of the People. The nonprofit, tuition-free online institution, based in Pasadena, CA, recently reached an even bigger milestone by earning accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council.
The university, founded in 2009, has an enrollment of about 700 students from 140 counties. The staff consists primarily of volunteer instructors and class size is limited to 20-30 students. While there are no tuition fees to attend, students do pay a registration fee based on income and country of residence, and a $100 administration free for each exam taken.
Accreditation should help the school attract more students and donors. Donations provide funds for scholarships that help defray the cost of the examination fees.
“It’s thrilling to think that with this accreditation, more students, employers, and leaders will begin to recognize the worth of a University of the People degree,” John Sexton, president of New York University, told eCampus News.
On the heels of the University of the People announcement, Thomas Edison State College (TESC) said it would begin offering an open-course option that provides credits to students for passing a preapproved credit-by-exam program. The TESC option is free and designed to attract adult learners returning to school.
“This is an interesting option for adult learners who prefer to work independently, enjoy credit-by-exam programs, and are interested in prior learning assessment,” said Michael Williams, dean of the TESC school of business and management. “This model offers students a more flexible, efficient way to completing their associates’ degree that has the potential of saving time and tuition dollars.”