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Online ‘university of anywhere’ opens to refugees

An online university is offering 500 refugees from Syria’s civil war free places on its degree courses. The University of the People, based in California, is a fast-growing, non-profit project designed to provide higher education for those with the academic ability to study, but without the ability to pay or without any practical access to a traditional university.

“There isn’t a better reason for the invention of the internet,” says the university’s founder and president, Shai Reshef. The university offers fully accredited four-year degrees, completely taught online, with students scattered across 180 countries.

“We open the gates to higher education. We are an alternative for those who have no other alternative – survivors of the genocide in Rwanda, refugees from Syria, the earthquake in Haiti,” says Mr Reshef, speaking to the BBC in London.

In the United States, the university provides places for people without documentation, who otherwise would be stuck in a loop-tape of needing qualifications to get a better job but not having the paperwork to enrol in a conventional college. Continue reading

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