A student whose parents earn a good living is significantly more likely to receive a bachelor's degree than a student whose parents' income is lower, according to the Bank of Israel.
"Those who have higher income are more interested in social status and they have money to pay for it," Yoav Friedmann, who headed the central bank's study, told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. Those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are less "willing to pay for social status" because "they have other things to pay for." Academic achievement was a form of social status, he said.
Friedmann analyzed data from 1992 to 2002. He said the educational disparity revealed two traits in Israeli society: Socioeconomic handicaps translate into educational ones; and the academic gulf demonstrates that because education and social status are intertwined, students in "the stronger population sector" feel pushed to forge ahead in academia in a way that students of lower socioeconomic background do not feel.
Friedmann said a 26 percent tuition decrease since 2000 - due to the Winograd Report's partial implementation - might remedy the educational gap. He said the Shohat Committee may recommend raising tuition rates while increasing the availability of loans.
Of women who matriculated in 1992, 60% of those with parents in the top fifth of income level had completed a bachelor's degree by 2002, according to the study. Less than 20% of those whose parents were in the bottom fifth had done so. For men, the gap was somewhat smaller.
Friedmann said the difference between genders was not significant. More women than men earned bachelor's degrees, he said.