Higher Education

After secondary education, students are generally conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), but may request a postponement of the conscription date to study at a pre-service Mechina, or in a college or university. Those who study in a university at this stage generally do so under a program called atuda, where the tuition for their bachelor's degree is paid for by the army. They are however obliged to sign a contract with the army extending their service by 2-3 years.

Universities generally require a certain amount of bagrut matriculation units (as well as a certain grade average) and a good grade in the Psychometric Entrance Test, which is similar in many respects to the American SAT. The Open University of Israel accepts all applicants regardless of their academic history, though it still maintains high academic standards. All of Israel's nine public universities, and some of its colleges, are subsidized by the government, and students pay only a small part of the actual cost of tuition. Further financial assistance is provided by student loans, grants, and scholarships approved by the Ministry of Education.

The Psychometric Entrance Test (colloquially known in Hebrew simply as "psychometry" - psixometri, פסיכומטרי) is a standardized test used as a higher education admission exam. The PET covers three areas: quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning and the English language. It is administered by the Israeli National Institute for Testing and Evaluation (NITE) and is heavily weighed for university admissions.The test may be taken in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish, or combined Hebrew/English.

According to the OECD, the median age Israeli students complete their first degree is slightly above 27.