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University of the People uopeople.edu FAQ, also known as "University of the Scammers"

The Israeli ✡ diploma mill that claims to be an "American university"

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We removed "tuition free" from the introduction, because more than 5000 dollars exam fees are tuition. Claiming to be tuition free is simply a lie. Unfortunately this misleading claim is still in the motto. See also http://edtechchronicle.com/universityofthepeople/

We agree, "tuition free" is false. This fake online school uses a different business model (installments instead of annual tuition). In any case, it is not free: if you don't pay, they will stop you from taking exams. "Low cost" would be a better expression.

The website is definitely "transparent" when it comes to paying fees — there is no question about it — which is why it asks you to pay right away. On the other hand, what is not "transparent" is the misleading "tuition-free" ad, simply because the sum of fees can be considered tuition. There are many more real "tuition-free" online schools, which ask you to pay no tuition and no fees.

University of the People is a bogus fake university that claims to be free: it is notable because they are spamming. Free Open University is really free but not notable because we do not spam, cheat, or lie. Email advertising blanketed the edublogs community today (I got four) announcing the 'University of the People', purportedly the "the world's first tuition-free, internet-based academic institution." The New York Times, which also got the same press release, channels it uncritically into an article. The term "tuition-free" is just a nicety; students will still have to pay to register and take tests. The term "university" is also a misnomer; it still seeks real regional accreditation. None of this means that the venture won't work. It's just you don't get to call yourself "first" until you've actually done what you say you've done.

They just use different words. You pay "exam fees" instead of "tuition", but you must pay anyway. If you don't pay you can't attend, plain and simple, so it's not free. All in all it's definitely low-cost, but definitely not free. A misleading, and probably unethical, ad.

If you can attend for free, why are you required to pay a "non-refundable entry fee" before you log in?!?

We agree, after almost ten years, there are still too many paid spammers who keep writing promotional and misleading information (not to say fake news!) mostly through sponsored articles which they claim to be "reliable sources". The "scholarships" that this school is supposed to be giving is another misleading piece of information. Actually, if you email them to apply for a scholarship, they will say that scholarships are not for bachelor or master students. It sounds fishy.

In the article is a statement saying that "The University of the People has received the backing of the United Nations' Global Alliance for ICT and Development." Some spammers added a press release, but all it says is that GAID "announced" the launch of a new university: this is not the same as backing the university. All that can be inferred is that GAID is announcing it because it is relevant to their mission and goals or whatever, but again, as I see it, this does not mean they are supporting or "backing" the university. What we really need is details as to how GAID is actually "backing" the university: financially? politically? I checked the school's website and found nothing about GAID (other than a link to the same press release); if the UN were officially supporting the university, you'd think it would be mentioned there.

In brief: this school has never been affiliated with the United Nations. Scam!

The current introduction is misleading. "University of the People (UoPeople) is an American 501(c)(3) non-profit institution of higher education headquartered in Pasadena, California, United States." It implies that, if you go to Pasadena, you will find the school. False! The address in Pasadena is actually a room where mail is kept until collected, just like a PO box. The real headquarters, and all the administrative staff, are located in Israel. How do I know this? Because I was a student and I used to talk to them (Tel Aviv time zone).

The school claims to be affiliated with the United Nations. It is not true (fake news, and fake ads). The only source they can use is an outdated press release, printed in 2009 by Serge Kapto, saying this new school is going to be created. But it doesn't say it is affiliated with the United Nations! In fact, it has never been affiliated. Also, the article is misleading, because it seems to imply that the school was created by the United Nations. I am going to remove the misleading affiliations.

We will also remove other fake affiliations:

  • clintonfoundation.org does not say that this school is affiliated with them, or vice versa;

  • ashoka.org does not say that this school is affiliated with them, or vice versa;

  • yale.edu does not say that this school is affiliated with them, or vice versa: this press release talks about a "research partnership" in 2009, but it does not mention any current official affiliations and it is unclear if the content of the press release is still valid;

  • nyu.edu does not say that this school is affiliated with them, or vice versa: this press release talks about a collaboration in Abu Dhabi in 2011, but it does not mention any current official affiliations and it is unclear if the content of the press release is still valid;

  • berkeley.edu does not say that this school is affiliated with them, or vice versa.

That sponsored article is not a "valid reference". The only valid source is the United Nations' website, which does not say this school is affiliated with them in any way.

The school still claims to be affiliated with the UN and other important organizations etc.: this fake news has been the basis for a fake list of affiliations for more than five years. They can advertise their sponsored clickbait articles anywhere else, but not here.

This school has nothing to do with the United Nations, or any of it agencies. Your "source" is just an obsolete sponsored article, never confirmed by the United Nations or its agencies. Basically, advertising/PR at best, or fake news at worst.

Among other things, that sponsored article also claims the school to be "headquartered" in Pasadena, California. Fake news. Look at Google Street View.

Apart from the sponsored articles (or press releases from UoPeople) which claim that Simone Biles left UCLA to join University of the People — strange but possible — her official website and biography do not confirm that. Why? Also, I have been watching all the videos produced by University of the People featuring Simone Biles, and she never states that she is studying with UoPeople, nor does she state that she is giving scholarships! The videos are basically ads/commercials featuring Biles (we will never know if she has been paid…), which looks like a typical advertising campaign.