New York University partners with University of the People

The University of the People, one of the most disruptive startups in higher education, found a new partner to spread change in academia. New York University agreed to admit students of UoPeople who show exceptional promise after at least a year of studies to the N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi campus and those might also be eligible for financial aid.

Although there are no promises for a fixed number of students, the president of N.Y.U. John Sexton expects that actually a few might already be admitted to the Abu Dhabi campus in the entering class of 2012.

In case you are not familiar with the University of the People yet, I had the chance to interview its founder Shai Reshef here on EDUKWEST. UoPeople offers programs in computer science and business administration and to date its is tuition free. The faculty consists of volunteer professors and the material is based on free resources on the Internet. Actually, a few N.Y.U. faculty members and administrators have been working as volunteers for the UoPeople from the beginning already, serving as chairman and CFO.

Up to today UoPeople has attracted more than 1000 students from around the globe, some of them even studying in the tent villages on Haiti or in refugee camps in Sudan.

Although the cost of attending N.Y.U. is one of the highest in the United States, the university is able to offer generous financial aid on the Persian Gulf campus, comparable to the aids of Harvard and Princeton. The campus is paid for by the state of Abu Dhabi.

This is a very exciting step for the University of the People and its founder Shai Reshef who said that

“It’s almost unbelievable. Most of our students had no alternative for higher education before we opened the gates for them, and now the most successful may be able to further pursue their dreams by attending one of the best universities in the world.”

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at KirstenWinkler.com.