American online university to offer tuition-free degrees to Myanmar refugees

23 November 2016
American online university to offer tuition-free degrees to Myanmar refugees
Shai Reshef, President of University of the People. Photo: Twitter @ShaiReshef 

University of the People (“UoPeople”), based in Pasadena, California, has announced that it will offer 50 scholarships especially created for students born in Myanmar to study tuition-free toward its American accredited degrees at the university’s virtual campus, the university said in a statement. Associates and bachelor degree programs are available in business administration, computer science and health science, in addition to an MBA.
Shai Reshef, President of University of the People – the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university, will be in Mae Sot, Thailand for a special informational event on 23 November designed for current students and prospective applicants. At the event, which will take place at the Mae Tao Clinic, Reshef will talk about studying online and unique scholarship opportunities for students from Myanmar and on ground support available in Mae Sot. Myanmar refugee doctor, Dr. Cynthia Maung, who just last week won a humanitarian prize for the Mae Tao clinic which she founded and runs, will be opening the event and will discuss the importance of public health degrees.
“UoPeople has grown over 500% in Asia since 2014,” says Reshef. “We are very proud to have a special project for students from Myanmar, particularly after what they’ve gone through, and especially now, when their situation may be beginning to improve since repatriation has begun. We see it as imperative that these students advance their education and cultivate occupational skills in order to rebuild their futures. For this reason, we decided that I would come personally to Mae Sot to meet our students and potential applicants and to announce that we are proud to offer 50 scholarships to Myanmar students.”
Building on the university’s experience with providing refugee assistance programs, UoPeople is uniquely equipped to accept refugee students to study, despite their transitory circumstances. To date, the university has enrolled 1,000 refugee students. Whether students remain in their host countries, relocate again, or return home, they can continue their studies and qualify for their chosen degree.
Offering the opportunity of higher education to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people is a fulfilment of UoPeople’s vision. By opening the gates to higher education to those who are traditionally barred access, Reshef says, “The hardships these people have experienced cannot be reversed, however their futures can be transformed. Possessing a quality, accredited American degree will not only impact the personal circumstances of refugee students, their families and their communities, but it will also hold significant value for the economic and social development of their host countries.”
UoPeople is changing the way online learning is perceived through alliances with prestigious educational institutions (such as Yale University for research and New York University and University of California Berkeley for accepting students) and partnerships with global corporations (such as Hewlett-Packard for internships and Microsoft for scholarships). The University has enrolled students from over 180 different countries. The unique focus is on small international classes, peer interaction and personalized attention with qualified instructors.  Dedicated to democratizing higher education globally, UoPeople exemplifies employing a unique online solution for potentially millions of people.