Do you want to go to university and not have to worry about the thousands of dollars in debt you will be in when you graduate? This week, our #FortunateFriday feature is a not-for-profit, tuition-free, accredited university offering online courses which is dedicated to providing access to higher education globally – the University of the People.
About the University of the People
We first heard about Shai Reshef and the University of the People (UoPeople) in an article written by Tim Dodd published in the Australian Financial Review in November last year. Not only has he managed to build such an impressive model from the ground up, to provide free higher education to people globally, but he has also managed to inspire countless of individuals and corporations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard to join in his cause! Even Yale Law School, UC Berkeley and New York University have come on board as academic partners to help create unique, stimulating opportunities for UoPeople’s students!
We have been so amazed at all that they have managed to accomplish and the way they have been able to give back to the community – from admitting over 4,000 students into their tuition-free university-level programs in 2016, to their Emergency Refugee Initiative in 2015. We really do hope that one day, we could give back to the community on the same scale as they have! Oh what a dream it is to be able to offer tuition-free accredited vocational courses to all Australians!
Rising costs of education – is getting a diploma or degree still worth it?
Are you thinking of studying in Australia? Did you know that the average cost of university tuition has been rising almost 4% above the rate of inflation each year (global average measured from 1971 to 2015)? It is higher than any other product or service on the market! In America alone, CNBC reported that millions of students and families are forced deeper and deeper into debt to send their children off to college. Around US$100 billion a year is borrowed through a cottage industry of private and publicly-funded loan programs, and the outstanding student debt in America as at 2015, was standing at USD$1.2 trillion. In Australia, the combined outstanding student debt for our VET Student Loans (previously known as VET Fee-Help) and HECS-HELP is almost at AUD$45 billion. With our job markets being so unstable, many have questioned whether the cost of getting a diploma of a degree is still worth it.
We undertook a survey with some of the employers we work with and majority of them prefer to hire someone with the required qualifications over one who does not have them. Main reason given was that with an accredited qualification, you know that your hiree has the knowledge and the skills essential to perform in their role. Without one, you are taking a gamble and are basically hoping that they weren’t just good at interviews, but good at their jobs too.
Why is vocational and higher education so expensive?
Many wonder why the cost of education is so expensive. I can’t speak on behalf of all schools and colleges but there are many factors involved in the cost of delivering quality education courses and programs, and they may vary from one education institution to another. At Dolph Business School, our biggest expense (and our biggest asset) is our team – we have to work hard to maintain the quality of Trainers and staff, and only attract those aligned with our values and is willing to work together to achieve our vision. This also means we have to spend to keep their knowledge and skills current. We believe that by investing in our staff, we are able to get the best outcomes for our students. Other costs to factor in include building and maintaining an ever-evolving compliance framework (ASQA would slaughter us if we were not compliant even for the most menial of things); maintaining the our education framework and the software programs which support them; creating and sustaining value-added programs such as career counselling, internship and job opportunities for our students and education support; as well as upkeeping our equipment and facilities (who would’ve thought that electricity could be so expensive?). Whilst we are fortunate enough to have private benefactors to help us with some of our costs, some other colleges and universities are not afforded the same opportunities.
Further more, some schools such as Harvard and Yale would price their college degrees to attract and maintain those of a certain calibre to sustain their reputation. Whilst some other schools spend heavily on their sporting programs and amenities to attract students of a certain distinction which they also see as a way to promote their schools.
This is why institutions such as the UoPeople are so important because whether they realise it or not, they are creating a movement. They are creating an essential service for us to ensure we have a skilled workforce to build and bring our nations into the next century! Our hats off to them and if you are interested in finding out more about their programs, you can check out their website here.
Please note, our #FortunateFriday posts are not sponsored. They are chosen to be featured by our team in consultation with our students, and they are chosen because we believe in what they do and want the world to know about them!
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‘Till our next #FortunateFriday feature, have a great week and remember to be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Your act of kindness could create immense change beyond your wildest imagination!
We offer Certificate and Diploma courses to both Australian and international students. Feel free to browse our website to find out more, or call us on 1300 236 574 and speak to one of our friendly staff members.