Eilat cuts scholarships in funding crisis

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevy has announced that the city will soon have to stop providing scholarships for students at the Eilat campus of Ben-Gurion University, reports www.mynet.co.il. The mayor said the city-run Eilat Fund, which he heads, was having "great difficulty" in raising money because of the current economic crisis, and that if a funding source could not be found, it would have to rescind its commitment to provide scholarships for every student. According to the report, the Eilat Fund ("Keren Eilat") began providing scholarships four years ago in a move aimed at bringing university students to Eilat and in the hope that they would find work and settle there afterwards. The fund provides a full, three-year scholarship in return for community service, and has enabled the campus to grow to 750 students this year and to an expected 850 in the coming academic year. But Halevy recently wrote to the dean of the Eilat campus, Prof. Shaul Krakover, to say the fund's money was running out and it would soon have to curtail its activities. "There is great difficulty in raising funds because of the economic crisis," Halevy said. A municipal spokesman said scholarships worth more than NIS 1 million would be distributed to students enrolled for the coming year, but after this if a funding source was not found, the fund would have to revoke its commitment to provide a scholarship for every student, and would restrict new scholarships to Eilat-born students and special cases. Krakover said Halevy had acted for the good of the campus and could take credit for "wonderful" management of the scholarship fund, but there was now an externally caused crisis. He said that come January, university managers would have to decide how to continue to market the campus.