An estimated 305,550 students will attend the nation’s higher education institutions this year, up 2.3 percent from last year, according to the Council for Higher Education’s statistics released last week.

Students in the 2012-2013 academic year, which starts on Sunday, will study in 67 academic institutions: seven universities; 37 colleges of which 21 are public and 16 are private; 22 colleges of education; and the Open University distance- learning institution.

Seventy-seven percent of this year’s students are enrolled in undergraduate programs while 19 percent are master’s degree candidates and 4% are studying for their doctorates.

Of this year’s undergraduates, 28 percent will be studying in universities, while 54 percent chose private or public colleges. The rest of them, 18 percent, will be studying through the Open University, a more flexible track that allows individuals to enroll in individual courses and not in a course of study.

This year also sees a jump in the number of haredim in academia: 7,200 ultra-Orthodox students will study in the 2012- 2013 academic year compared to 5,968 last year and 4,782 in the 2009-2010 cycle.

Out of the 305,550 students this year, half are new to higher education.

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