The new academic school year was opened a few weeks ago and tens of thousands of students have returned to their studies. In the past academic year of 2009-2010, there were 244,100 students in Israel, not including the Open University and branches of foreign universities operating in Israel. Of them, 51% were enrolled in universities, 38% in academic colleges and 11% in teaching academic colleges.
Higher education in Israel has been undergoing extensive reforms since the 1990s following a series of reforms instituted by the Israel Council of Higher Education (MALAG) designed to increase access to higher education. As part of these reforms, college-preparatory schools and academic colleges were established, many of them outside of the large metropolitan areas.
Over the past decade the number of students in academic colleges has almost tripled (172%) whereas the number of students in universities and teaching academic colleges has increased at a much slower rate (10% and 17% respectively). Overall, the number of students enrolled in institutions of higher education has increase by 43%.
Academic colleges in Israel may be either public or private. Private colleges are not budgeted by the state, charge higher tuition and generally have lower admission requirements as compared with universities. Private colleges generally offer programs that are in high-demand such as law, economics, business administration, computer science and behavioral sciences.
The estimates for institutions of higher education in Jerusalem are 40,000 students, of which half are enrolled at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Other large advanced schools in Jerusalem are Machon Lev, Betzalel, Hadassah College and the Jerusalem College of Engineering.