College Study in Israel: Greater Benefits
April 27, 2004Comments (0)
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Through various programs, many college students spend a semester or full school year studying at another university. Reasons include personal enrichment, diversity in learning environment, interest in a student exchange program, unique curriculum offered elsewhere, geographic preference, familial or friendship network, cost advantage or skill recognition.
For Jewish students wanting to spend a school year away from their principle institution, there is a special advantage to attending school in Israel: the ability to connect on an intimate level with our homeland. This is exemplified through living amongst Israelis, gaining a better understanding of Israeli society and Diaspora Jewry, and supporting Israel and its economy in a time of crisis. In difficult economic times, an overriding reason may be to take advantage of the low cost and superior quality attending an Israeli university.
According to the report "Trends in College Pricing 2003," college tuition and fees increased for the 2003-04 academic year an average of $579 to $10,636 at four-year public institutions (a 14% increase over 2002-03) and $1,114 to $26,854 at four-year private institutions (a 6% increase). Tuition and fees at public institutions are affected significantly by less state appropriations; all institutions are affected by the sluggish economy where alumni giving and donations have not kept pace with increasing institution expenditures. Therefore, public institutions that include most "state" schools are now less of a value; since out-of-state residents pay significantly more, tuition and associated fees can be very expensive. Further, state schools in areas where Jewish students cluster have higher than average tuition rates. This is also true for private institutions (several have fees in excess of $30,000 for tuition alone - Brandeis, Brown, and Yale).
Against this backdrop, major universities in Israel have tuitions that range from $3,500 to $8,000 with housing and other fees rarely exceed $2,000. Also, major universities in Israel are on the caliber of many top-tier private institutions in the United States:
In addition to the high standards of excellence and relatively low cost for tuition, universities in Israel offer extensive scholarship packages. One, the Weizmann Institute offers a scholarship for full tuition for most students. While the cost for airfare to Israel is slightly in excess of $1,000, other costs associated with attendance are comparable to those in the US, e.g., application fee, room and board, activity fees, books and supplies, etc. Depending on the school and program, many courses in Israeli institutions are offered in English. All of the Israeli institutions offer an Ulpan or language course to assist in learning Hebrew.
- Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan excels in social sciences, life sciences and research. In February, a major international conference took place on the treatment of infectious disease - West Nile virus, SARS and AIDS, and the role of the immune system and use of vaccinations.
- Ben Gurion University in Beersheva believes in order to spearhead development in the Negev that occupies one-third of Israel, talents of science and research must be marshaled in order to promote hi-tech agriculture, health, development and education.
- University of Haifa sits atop Mt. Carmel; this port city boasts a very pluralistic student body and is a pioneer in peace initiatives and mutual understanding and cooperation between the Jewish and Arab population on and off campus.
- Hebrew University in Jerusalem was established in 1925 as a university for Jews worldwide, as an early Zionist vision founded by Chaim Weizmann. It has an international reputation in biotechnology, computer science, astrophysics, microbiology and genetic engineering.
- The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzlia in existence less than ten years specializes in the study of interdisciplinary education, business, law, government and diplomacy. Its Recanati International School is taught entirely in English.
- The Pardes Institute in Jerusalem boasts a unique combination of intellectual openness, rigorous textual analysis and opportunities for Jewish spiritual growth. Teaching and Jewish education programs are its primary focus.
- Technion in Haifa specializes in technology, science and engineering. Researchers developed recently antibiotics that assist in treating resistant pathogenic bacteria, especially ones that attack patients with cystic fibrosis.
- Tel Aviv University has the largest student body of all Israel's universities. It prides itself in excellence in arts and sciences, engineering, life sciences, medicine, humanities, law, social science and management.
- The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot is one of the top post-graduate multidisciplinary research institutions in the world with emphasis in researching cancer, water quality, solar power, brain functions and nutrition.
Many Jewish federations, organizations, foundations and other special projects in the US provide scholarships for US students to study in Israel but only one organization is solely dedicated toward offering the scholarships - The American Jewish League for Israel (AJLI). In its scholarship program, stipends up to $2,000 are offered to US students seeking to spend a year or more studying at one of the nine aforementioned institutions. Along with assisting students meet their educational goals, AJLI is motivated by students whose dream it is to visit Israel, study with Israelis, learn about Israeli society and return to the US to serve as an advocate for Israel. AJLI is a Zionist organization not connected with any denomination or political party; it does not provide scholarships to any institution associated with a particular denomination. Nearly all of the 125 scholarship recipients in the last ten years have made a career in Jewish communal service or are active in their Jewish communities, particularly on issues relating to Israel. Preparing students to serve as a positive force for Zionist issues on college campuses and in the general community is more important than ever and the AJLI scholarship program has helped significantly toward that goal.
For more information about scholarships offered by AJLI, please visit our website, or contact us by e-mail or telephone: 212-371-1583.
American Jewish League for Israel
130 East 59th St. # 1201
New York, NY 10022