Simone Biles, American gymnast and Olympic champion, began her college education at the tuition-free University of the People (UoPeople) earlier this month. While the Winter Olympics 2018 is underway, UoPeople has announced that Biles is its Global Ambassador, launching The Education Revolution and the Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund for foster kids and others.
UoPeople describes itself as “the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university, providing tuition-free higher education to qualified students worldwide, despite financial, geographic, political, or social constraints.”
“I always dreamed of going to college but decided to follow my gymnastics dreams full time, which didn’t make it possible for me,” Biles is quoted as saying in a statement. “I had planned to attend UCLA but had to defer because of my training schedule. University of the People opened up an opportunity, providing the flexibility I need to fit in my studies around my career, and I want to be able to help share that opportunity for others around the world.”
As if to emphasize both its flexible scheduling and Biles as its new Global Ambassador, I love the photo of Biles in a perfect split leap on the UoPeople site with the word flexibility emblazoned above her. See it here.
Like Daughter, Like Mother
UoPeople says that Biles is studying for a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Among the 12,000 students enrolled in the university from more than 200 countries is Biles’s own mother, Nellie Biles, who is pursuing a graduate degree in the school’s MBA program.
Biles is committed to paying forward the opportunity for higher education. According to UoPeople, the Simone Biles Legacy Scholarship Fund is designed to support foster children and others in their efforts to pursue their college dreams.
“Being a foster child myself, I know what it means to have the odds stacked against you,” Biles says in the statement. “Life circumstances shouldn’t define you or keep you from your goals. I want to help remove barriers that keep a college degree out of reach for those that truly want it.”
UoPeople President Shai Reshef is quoted as saying, “We are delighted that Simone has chosen University of the People. It’s time for a new model, where every qualified student has an opportunity to earn a high quality, accessible, affordable college degree. It’s time for an Education Revolution. Simone’s support of the university is a great milestone toward this endeavor.”
UoPeople was founded in 2009 and accredited in 2014. The school has partnered with Yale Law School for research and New York University, University of California Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh to accept students.
For more information, see the UoPeople website.