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Social Networks Provide New Lessons in Learning

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online student

Credit: Getty Images

As millions of students across the world go back to school this month, 178 students from 49 countries will turn on their computers and step onto the virtual campus of the world's first global, tuition-free online university. University of the People  is hoping to use the power of social networks to expand education. The non-profit, California-based endeavor comes from Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef who says he founded the school to provide higher education to those who might otherwise never have access to it. "We want to be an option for people who don't have any other option,"  says Reshef, who also is the chairman of, an online study community for college students.

To attend, students must have a high school diploma, speak English and pay admission fees ranging from $15 to $50, with those from poorer countries paying less and those from richer countries paying more. The school initially will offer bachelor's degrees in business administration and computer science.

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