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Sunday, October 29, 2006

University Tuituion

If there is something that can get the Israeli student up in arms about, it is when people start talking about their tuition. This is a known struggle that has been going on in this country for as long as I can remember and no matter how many different Israbluf solutions we come up with it always ends up being the same old story. The bottom line is that just most things in this it is something that can and should be solved, but instead is dragged out for years on end with no good answer in sight.

And what exactly is the problem?? Well it depends on who you ask, the students think they (we?) pay to much for our school while the country thinks we are paying to little. Then of course there are those who are also students and also think we pay to little (see Am Echad, oh and my wife).

So at the moment the average Israeli student pays about 2,500$ a year in tuition over a period of 3 years. That come out to a total of about 7,500$ for a B.A. Not bad, most people will say. The problem is not the amount of money but where it comes from. The fact is that most Israelis (and yours truly is part of them) works while they are in school. This means that while we study in the morning most of the time we go to work in the afternoon, so that we can pay for our tuition + living expenses (another factor not calculated in).

But let's ignore the economics right now, there is a much bigger factor in my mind that needs to be addressed here. That is the Army service (or Sherut Leumi) that most of the Israelis have to do. That comes out to about 2-4 years of our life, a time where most of our age group is in collage. The fact is that the average Israeli student is about 25-28 years old (ill be 26 when I finish my B.A next June). This is a factor that goes missing from every economic Stat about universities although it's impact on the country is huge!

That is why I think the answer should also come from the army. Every soldier in the country when he finishes the army gets what is called a Pikadon. The pikadon is a sum of money based on the number of months you served (and the position you served in), that can only be used for a certain limited list of things (or to be released after 5 years from finishing the army). At the moment that amount of money is about the same as tuition (not including other expenses). There is no reason why we can't link the 2 together and that way the argument over tuition will be fought inside the Govt. and not between the Govt. and the students.

What this means basically is that a student is entitled to a year of tuition for every year he served in the army (or Sherul Leumi). And all he has to do is get a proof of service hand it to the university and not have to worry about how much the tuition will cost him that year (or all 3 years). That also means that if Tuition is raised to 15,000 Nis, like they want to raise it today, that will not effect the student, and the Govt. will have to figure out how to cover the extra 5,000 NIS from it's own pocket.

One might ask, but what about those who didn't serve in the army?? Well this would be a great way to even the odds out for those who think the army is not something that you have to go to, or alternatively force that person to go to some sort of Sherut Leumi.


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At 2:05 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

7500$ for a college education is CHEAP - any way you slice it (around 1,000 shekels a month, yes?) Do you know that it costs 1800 shekels a month for maon (baby from 3 months to 18 months)? Did you know that a dati leumi high school for boys (dormitory) costs at least 1400 shekels - and sometimes up to 2,000 shekels a month? If a parent can afford these two, why not college - especially since colleges here prepare you for a specific career - you don't have to get a B.A. first, and THEN go on to law school, etc. Add to this your point that people who do army service get a stipend and the Israeli college student has NOTHING to complain about!

At 6:58 PM, Blogger amechad said...

Sorry, I'm still not convinced. First off, as you mentioned, the army provides money for tuition (although the tax payer is paying for it -- "the government pays for it"=YOU pay for it).

I had a college fund from when I was a baby. It's that simple (well, besides the crappy banks stealing your money) - save several shekels a month from the time your kid is born. Look, at Hebrew U there are a bunch of students with cards or who eat out at cafes. 25NIS a day x 5+ days a week ads up. I don't eat out and thus I have money in the bank and am not in overdraft. It really is that simple for most. Of course, not all but that's why you have a system of need based scholarships for low-income which is paid for by donors and the extra money you are paying.

sorry, not convinced. It's called SAVE!


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