Academic breaks rank to urge increase in fees

January 7, 2005

An Israeli government committee is due to reopen the issue of tuition fees three years after a never-implemented proposal that they should be halved.

But even before it has started work, the president of Hebrew University has broken rank to argue for higher fees and greater independence from the Government.

Menachem Magidor favours a controversial model of scholarships and loans.

He said the plan to halve fees was "a terrible mistake made under political pressure", which would lead to lower standards in return for low fees.

The scholarships, "based on economic conditions (and merit), would pay for students from a certain level of economic hardship", he said. The loans would come from pension funds and similar sources, be partially guaranteed by the university and be "repaid a couple of years after (the student has finished studying)".

He said that "no student would be barred from studying because of their economic situation".

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