Why Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center Privatization is a Concern

Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) is the first privately-run university in Israel, and the Council for Higher Education approved the university’s bid to go private in March. The move should be a concern for all Israeli citizens, and other university’s in the country remain critical of the approval.

The Interdisciplinary Center is not state-funded.

My concerns are many, but the first is the cost of education at a private university. The average cost of tuition for an undergraduate program is around 10,000 shekels annually. The IDC has tuition rates of forty thousand shekels.

The IDC is funded by the Adelson family, a billionaire family from the United States. Numerous individuals have donated to the IDC to help fund the college, which notes that they have never received a shekel from the state.

A bid to offer Ph. D programs has also been made, which will further dilute the value of Ph. D degrees. The IDC claims that allowing a Ph.D program will help broaden research diversity in Israel while also offering higher standards to students.

My concern, coming from the States, is that the first private university will lead to two, three, four and even more private universities. Competition is good, but the United States is sitting on $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.

Millennials are staying at home longer, waiting to have children and also waiting longer to buy homes.

The cost of a private university also separates the elite from the normal worker. Higher costs in tuition, in this case four times higher than the average, will result in one of two things: the elite being able to seek a better education, or students taking out loans to cover the cost of tuition. Loans will lead to students graduating with tens of thousands of shekels in debt.

Students have the option to go to university’s overseas using online methods. RMIT University offers a Master of Marketing degree online. Penn State, Purdue and others offer online programs, too. The option is there for Israeli’s and others to take online courses.

But privatization has the potential to lead to higher costs for education and the potential to push out students that come from lower income families. It may just be a recipe for disaster in the making.

When you look at the states, you’ll also find that out-of-state residents paid $28,893 per year in tuition at a public college. Local residents paid just $9,410 at the same college. Private colleges and universities charged $32,405 on average for tuition – significantly higher.

A lack of funding makes private colleges, in this case IDC, have the ability to charge more each semester.

Yes, the Council for Higher Education will still supervise IDC academically, but if more colleges go private, it may be a costly trend for Israelis in the future.

The Council claims that the IDC offering a Ph. D program will be good for the academic world and it will bolster research diversity. University heads at numerous public universities claim that doctoral programs should only be given to institutions that focus on long-term research in multiple fields.

About the Author
 Jacob Maslow is passionate about writing. For more than ten years, he's used that passion to transform the web presence of a number of legal and medical professionals in creative, innovative and effective ways that get them noticed in a crowded field. Jacob is originally from Brooklyn. He packed up his five children and made Aliyah in 2014. Jacob's experience and varied interests lend themselves to a diverse palette of topics ranging from technology, marketing, politics, social media, ethics, current affairs, family matters and more. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys being an active member of social media including groups on Facebook and taking in the latest movies. 
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