The American university said to be a “bogus” institution has defended its operations in the distance learning sector.
The Department of Higher Education and Training(DHET) recently warned South African students to steer clear of the University of the People (UoPeople), an online institution of higher education based in California.
According to the DHET, 'the fraudulent university is not registered with the Department as required by law and as such do not have the authority to enrol students nor grant degrees'.
The DHET also claimed that there was no evidence of the university’s accreditation with the United States Department of Education.
However, the president of the University of the People Shai Reshef, has vehemently denied the DHET's statement.
“The information about University of the People (UoPeople) provided in this DHET warning is completely incorrect” , he said.
According to Reshef the UoPeople is a legitimate nonprofit, online institution of higher education licensed by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) of the State of California, United States, and accredited by the U.S. Department of Education-recognized Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
He encouraged prospective students to visit the California BPPE’s list of approved institutions and programs ; the DEAC’s list of accredited institutions; and the University of the People's website to verify the institution’s authenticity.
Another point of contention was the university's claim to deliver its services free of charge.
“On its website ([email protected]) the bogus institution describes itself as "completely tuition-free” yet they require a non-refundable application and examination assessment fee” , said the department.
Reshef did not address this point but has prompted the public to visit the listed sites for clarity.
“We enroll 10,199 students from over 200 countries and territories. We encourage anyone with concerns about the University to visit the following web pages.”