The average amount of parental financial help provided to students in 2012 thus far climbed to NIS 14,355, a 15 percent increase from last year, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National Union of Israeli Students.

“It was always clear that they’d help me,” explained Omri Hefer, an engineering student at Tel Aviv University. Hefer’s parents pay for his entire tuition, which comes to 13,000 NIS a year – assistance he said he relies upon.

Last year, he moved out of his parents’ house and into an apartment closer to the university with his girlfriend. “My parents pay for my share of the rent as well, and on the side I work,” he said. With his salary, Hefer manages to pay for his other expenses, including food.

According to Student Survey 2012, based on 5,118 student responses, 51% of students in Israel have received financial aid from their parents this year.

Among them, on an annual basis, 46% receive between NIS 9,000 and NIS 20,000; 36% receive up to NIS 9,000; and 18% receive more than NIS 20,000. In addition, it was found that average parental support for Arab students is NIS 17,319.

Gil Shalom studies at a private college in the Tel Aviv periphery and explains that since getting accepted into Israeli universities has become increasingly difficult, many students his age turn to private colleges, which are very well-regarded.

The cost of tuition in these institutions, however, is often three times the cost of studying at a university.

“My parents pay for it and I live at home, but I don’t want to stay stuck here. I eventually want to get my own place and pay for my own car,” he said.

Shalom added that as he is starting his second year of studies, he is applying for waiter jobs as well: “My schedule doesn’t exactly allow much time for it, but it means that any free time I will have, including the weekends, I am going to dedicate to work,” he explained.

“This data is particularly serious when we consider the fact that Israel is largely based on its human capital,” said Itzik Shmuli, head of the National Union of Israeli Students. “If parents today need to spend thousands more shekels to help their children financially survive the studying period, this is a lethal blow to making higher education accessible to the disadvantaged, and furthermore preventing them from reaching almost their only chance of breaking the circle of poverty.”

Shmuli added that the survey results “join the government’s inaction in regulating housing and food prices” and are “another slap in the face of the middle class who works and serves in the army but collapse under economic burden because of the government’s harmful policies.”

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