After 2-year decline, number of Israeli undergrads on the rise

Women make up 60% of Israel’s college students; country lagging behind other OECD states in enrollment, Central Bureau of Statistics finds

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

Students on the campus of Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, May 8 2013. (Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)
Students on the campus of Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, May 8 2013. (Dudu Greenspan/Flash90)

After a two-year decline, Israel’s institutions of higher education saw an increase in undergraduate enrollment last year, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on Wednesday.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 316,400 students studied at 62 institutions of higher education, marking a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year.

The total number of students in undergraduate programs and the number of new students rose in universities and academic colleges, although not in colleges for training educators.

Almost every field saw an increase in enrollment, especially in the subjects of business, science, management, statistics, mathematics and computer science.

The education fields, especially physical education, continued in a downward trend. Additionally, the number of students studying medicine as undergraduates dropped by 5.6% and those studying law dropped 7.2%.

Women made up 59.5% of undergraduate students, according to the report.

Among the Arab community, women made up 68.9% of all undergrads, meaning that for every male Arab college student, there were two Arab women. The proportion of Arab students at all levels of higher education has been rising significantly, the report noted.

Illustrative photo of the Tel Aviv University campus. (Andrew Tobin/JTA)

The number of postgraduate students rose by 1.1%, including in the field of education, which saw a 2% increase in enrollment.

In the last year, 24% of Israeli undergrads came from affluent communities while 24.3% came from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The bureau for the first time compared Israeli data on undergraduates to international data.

In the years 2013-2017, Israel saw a 1% drop in undergraduate enrollment, while OECD countries recorded a 5.3% increase.

The proportion of Israeli students studying humanities, 9.4%, is lower than the 12.5% in OECD countries.

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