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Since its founding in 1991, Hillel’s mission has been to help young people who grew up in the Haredi community, but who have chosen to leave that world and to integrate into the general, free, pluralistic Israeli society. One of the most difficult challenges that the yotze faces, when he tries to adapt to the new world he has entered, is to obtain a modern education. There is an enormous cultural and educational gap between the haredi world and the modern world. Because of this gap, yotzim who in their previous lives may have excelled in their yeshiva studies and in fulfilling the goals of the haredi community, now find it extremely difficult to find the way to use their abilities and fulfill their ambitions. Thus, the yotzim must first complete their “Bagrut” certification, after which most go on to higher education, a path that is fraught with difficulties and obstacles.
Our scholarship program, which is the centerpiece of our organization’s various activities, was created to address this need. The scholarship program aims to make “Bagrut” (high-school matriculation) certification, professional training, and eventually university study available to all yotzim. The scholarships that Hillel provides improve the yotzim chances to complete their studies successfully and to enter the job market armed with an education suited to their talents and abilities.
We are proud to note that many of the students who receive scholarships from us go on to excel in their fields of studies.
The average cost of tuition in Israeli educational institutions runs between 10,000 and 30,000 NIS per year. The length of study may be a few months for vocational training, one or two years for preparation for the “Bagrut” examination, up to three to five years to earn an academic degree. In addition to tuition, students need 2,500 – 3,000 NIS per month for basic living expenses – housing and food. Even if they work while they are studying, rarely can they earn more than 2,500 NIS per month. Thus, the cost of tuition is obviously a very heavy burden, a burden yotzim cannot bear without getting into serious debt, debt which they cannot pay back.
Hillel’s scholarships cover only part of tuition and living costs of the yotzim, and supplement other sources of funding, such as grants which the Defense Ministry gives to soldiers who complete their military service, or scholarships from institutions of learning or other funds.
In its early years, because of a lack of resources, Hillel’s ability to grant scholarships was limited. In recent years this situation has dramatically changed. Total amount of scholarships has risen from 30000 NIS which was granted to 12 yotzim in 1998/9 to 560,000 NIS were was granted to about 100 yotzim in 2011/2.
The total amount of scholarships which Hillel has granted to date is close to 5 million NIS. Today, about one-third of Hillel’s yearly budget goes to scholarships.
Bagrut certificate (Wikipedia)
Information about bagrut tests for “external” students (students who do not study in Ministry of Education schools)