Often making it as a professional athlete or entertainer seems like the only alternative to actually going to college, but one such person recently decided to remind the world just how important education is by enrolling in school after becoming an Olympic gold medalist.
Simone Biles is a world champion and Olympic gold medalist with 19 medals to her name has recently enrolled online at the University of the People, an accredited online university. Already serving as a global ambassador for the school, she is now studying for a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Before the Rio Summer Games in 2016, Biles committed to the University of Los Angeles, but her schedule got in the way of her studying.
In a statement with VOA News, Biles explained her decision to further pursue schooling:
“I think it’s a good time to start, so that you don’t wait too-too long to start. So that you won’t want to go back. I could have picked any time, but this was the perfect opportunity.”
Biles has also established a scholarship fund in her name to help students afford test fees at the school. Many help students within the foster-care system, just as Biles herself had been. As she explained in the following statement:
“A lot of them age out of the system and they don’t feel like they have the same opportunity as other kids.”
Biles also discussed how the school’s unconventional nature could be a benefit to all kinds of students:
“I haven’t had a traditional school experience for a while, actually going into a classroom and sitting down,” said Biles, who left public school to be homeschooled during her high school years.
“The traditional way won’t work for me and I understand that. So it’s OK … online it is.”
“I didn’t want the headlines, once I go out and compete again, to be, you know, that be the title of me, rather than what I have to offer for this sport.”
What is the school like?
The University of the People is an accredited online university, that is also nonprofit and tuition-free.
In addition to offering a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, as Biles is pursuing, the school is also offering an MBA (master’s of business administration) degree, with similar degrees in computer science and health science.
While officially labeled “tuition-free,” with the school funded by private and public donations, students still pay assessment fees of $100 per exam. For the school, an associate degree costs around $2,060 and a bachelor’s degree costs around $4,060.