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המכללה האקדמית בית ברל > English > About Us > News > Newsletter > December 2019 Newsletter > Opportunity Fund Enables Talented Young People to Access Higher Education

Opportunity Fund Enables Talented Young People to Access Higher Education

The recently established Opportunity Fund provides critical financial aid to Beit Berl students who would otherwise not be able to afford their studies.

Beit Berl College established the Opportunity Fund in 2019 to help students struggling with challenging personal circumstances and financial hardships. Thanks to the Fund, this year 32 of the most disadvantaged students received scholarships that covered between 25% to 100% of their annual tuition. Since there was a large applicant pool and many students qualified for financial aid, the College is now raising funds in order to increase the number of scholarships that can be offered in 2020.

Iliya Gorlick
, a 28-year old student of Informal Education, says that he would have had to drop out of college if he hadn’t received the Opportunity Fund scholarship. Although he loves his studies and tries to support himself by working at three different jobs, he could not afford to pay the tuition this year. His mother, who is a single parent, became ultra-Orthodox when he was a child, and Iliya spent his childhood at a series of religious boarding schools and yeshivas. At age 18, he stopped being religious and joined the IDF as a combat soldier. Ever since, he has been supporting himself on his own. Several years ago, Iliya started working with at-risk youth and discovered the world of informal education. “I decided that that’s what I want to do, and I came to Beit Berl because they have a good Informal Education program,” he says. “At the end of my first year, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to continue because I can’t pay next year’s tuition. I was so relieved when they called me to say that I will receive an Opportunity Fund scholarship that will cover a year’s tuition!” 

May Masarwa, from the Arab town of Tayibe, is extremely grateful for the Opportunity Fund scholarship she received. A 22-year old second-year student in the Elementary School Education program, May contends with a very difficult situation at home. Her parents are divorced, and she has no contact with her father. Her mother, who has health problems and whose minimum wage factory job barely covers the rent, has trouble paying for the basic needs of May’s two younger siblings. Helping May pay for tuition is out of the question. May’s dream has always been to become a teacher, but now that she is a student as Beit Berl, she only has time to work one day a week. “I thought of quitting because I couldn’t afford to continue,” she reveals. “I cried when I heard that I received the scholarship. Now I will be able to have a career.”

A number of the Opportunity Fund recipients are part of Beit Berl’s Center for Haredi Educators. These students already hold Teaching Certificates to teach in ultra-Orthodox schools, and are now studying toward a full B.Ed. in Special Education and Certification in Youth Advancement to work with at-risk youth. 

One of them is Nehorai Khalah, who is 36 and a divorced father of three. He has worked in education much of his life, but until now never went to college. Realizing that he would not be able to advance in his teaching career without a B.Ed. degree, he decided to look for a suitable program. Someone told him about Beit Berl’s Center for Haredi Educators, and when he came to visit, he was impressed with the lovely campus as well as with the program itself. “It is a very intense program and it will open doors for me. However, I would not have been able to attend without the help of the Opportunity Fund. It is especially crucial because I have to pay alimony and I can’t work as much while I’m a student. All in all, I’m very satisfied,” he says. 

Your gift to the Opportunity Fund, made by December 31, will be instantly matched by one of our generous donors. Click here to donate online.

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