Higher Education in the Palestinian Territories

The university education consists of four years college education to obtain a bachelor's degree and additional two years for a master's degree. Some colleges provide two years of education for a diploma course. During 2005 in the West Bank and Gaza, there were 10 universities, 1 distance education university (Al-Quds Open University), 13 university colleges, and 19 community colleges. Most of these universities were established and developed mostly since the period of Israel occupation begun in 1967. Majority of the universities are non-profit institutions. They combine fund-raise with funding received from the Palestinian Authority.

In Higher Education Institutions, 138,139 students were enrolled during the 2004/2005 academic year. Among them, 76,650 students (55% of total) were enrolled in universities, 46,453 students (34%) are enrolled in the distance education university, 6,034 students (4%) were enrolled in university colleges, and 9,002 students (7%) were enrolled in the community colleges. The male students share is greater than that of female students in the universities, open university and university colleges. On the other hand, the share of female students is greater in the community colleges. Gross enrollment ratios for higher education were 46.2% for total, 41.6% for male, and 50.9% for female students in 2007.

More students enrolled in certain academic programs such as social science, education, and humanities and arts in higher education, and the share of science and engineering is proportionately less.

Demand for tertiary education has increased significantly in the past decade with students enrolled in tertiary education institutions more than tripling between 1995 and 2006. Some academics have suggested that Palestinian Authority higher education system needs to not only satisfy the increasing demand from the growing population of secondary education graduates, but also to maintain quality and relevance to meet the changing demands of the global economy. In addition, public financing for tertiary education is considered insufficient given Palestinian Authority financial circumstances. The system heavily depends on student fees, which represent 60% of universities' operating costs.

The MOEHE has developed a new student loan scheme for tertiary education. The objectives of this loan scheme are: 1) to create a sustainable resource that will assist students into the future, 2) to ensure that students understand their responsibility to share the cost of their education, 3) to provide a strong, streamlined repayment system that is easy and fair (repayments of loans must be collected from all students), and 4) to provide a collection mechanism that will ensure sustainability (a revolving fund).

UNESCO states that because of "isolation, the Universities have suffered in particular from the absence of research departments."

"Inter-university co-operation programmes are underway, such as TOKTEN, PEACE and MEDCAMPUS. They are supported by partners such as the European Union, UNESCO and the UNDP. The PEACE programme (Palestinian-European Academic Co-operation in Education) involves 23 Palestinian Authority and European universities. It has been particularly noteworthy for having allowed students and teachers from the West Bank and Gaza to be admitted to European faculties at a time when the university establishments of Gaza and the West Bank were closed. In a second phase, it is to provide for the dispatch of missions of volunteer academics, on sabbatical, from Europe, North America and the rest of the world to the West Bank and Gaza." "Palestinian students wishing to obtain a doctorate must study either in Israel, or overseas."

Starting in November 2017, around half the foreign lecturers in Palstinian universities began to be informed that their residency visas would not be extended because they had been "living in the area for more than five years." In addition, their spouses were required to pay tens of thousands of shekels as guarantee that they would not work.