Student Loans for Israel: Learning from International Practice

Cite As:
Ziderman Adrian. Student Loans for Israel: Learning from International Practice Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 2008.
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The proposals of the Shochat Committee on higher education that related to first degree tuition fees and student loans, if implemented, will have far-reaching effects on the higher education system in Israel. Yet, conspicuously lacking in the report is any discussion of the merits of these loans scheme arrangements, in relation to possible alternatives. A theme of this paper is that the scheme has been developed with insufficient attention to the lessons that may be learned from practice in some seventy loans schemes worldwide.

The proposals of the Shochat Committee have been put on hold, pending eventual government consideration (and possible approval and adoption). The aim of this paper is to take some initial steps in filling the comparative information gap, in preparation for the time when the national debate on student loans is resumed.


The section reviewing student loans schemes in other countries indicates considerable diversity in design and practice across schemes. Attention is paid to four central themes: loan scheme objectives, the funding of loans schemes, the financial viability of loans schemes and repayment issues.


The Shochat proposals are compared with those of an earlier loans scheme proposal, the “Free to Learn” scheme, based loosely on the Australian model. Since the two proposed loans schemes differ strikingly in terms of objectives, institutional structure and mode of operation, a comparative analysis of the two schemes may serve as a useful framework in considering major design elements for a student loans scheme within the specific Israeli context. This is preceded by a discussion of lessons to be learned from the particular experience of two major loans schemes, in Australia and in England and Wales.

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