An Insider's View on Scholarships at Tel Aviv University
Obtaining an LLM from another country can be an expensive affair. If you’re hoping to study in the US or the UK, you can expect to pay anywhere between USD 50,000 – 70,000, a considerably steep fee for most applicants. It is therefore not surprising that the availability of scholarships and financial aid often forms the basis upon which applicants decide whether a program is suitable for them or not.
While the Parasol Foundation International LL.M. Program does not burn quite the same hole in your pocket as its Western counterparts, with a tuition fee of USD 21,000 for the coming year, it does present a fair financial burden for prospective applicants. However, the effect of such burden can potentially be balanced through the availability of both partial and full scholarships at Tel Aviv University.
In this post we dive into the scholarships offered at TAU, using the insights shared by Professor Ronen Avraham, the Academic Director of TAU’s LLM program, and Ms. Orit Gontmaher, the Admissions and Marketing Director of the program.
What are the scholarship options at TAU?
According to Professor Avraham, there are two primary scholarship options provided to LLM candidates at TAU: the merit-based scholarship, and need-based financial aid. While the former is based on one’s academic performance and overall profile, the latter is provided on the basis of the financial status of the applicant.
In addition, given that Israel has proved to be a model example in the fight against COVID-19, the university has recently instituted a COVID scholarship in order to encourage students to participate in the program despite the onslaught of the pandemic.
How are scholarships evaluated at TAU?
The merit-based scholarship is awarded primarily on the basis of the applicant’s GPA, which is converted into a standardized GPA, using TAU’s internal conversion formula. On this scale, if an applicant’s GPA is 83 or above, then they automatically become eligible for the merit-based scholarships. As an example, if an applicant’s GPA on the Tel Aviv’s scale is between 83 - 90, then they can potentially receive between USD 2000 – 4000 in scholarships, more than 10% of the program’s total fee of USD 21,000. The amounts awarded by the university progressively increase with the applicant’s GPA, and if the GPA exceeds 90 on TAU’s scale, then applicants can receive between USD 4000 - 6000 in scholarships.
The personal statement is one of the most important things in making the decision on scholarships
At the other end of the spectrum, need-based financial aid is provided by the university on the basis of the applicant’s income-level and resources.
In order demonstrate the requirement for financial aid, Ms. Gontmaher tell us that upon acceptance to the program candidates are required to submit documents to the university as evidence of their economic condition. Eligible applicants can potentially receive between USD 1000 – 4000 as part of need-based financial aid. Finally, COVID scholarships are also awarded by the university on the basis of the applicant’s grades. For such scholarships, the Academic Director and other members of the LLM program are required to make recommendations to the university for students “who will make great candidates for the program”. As part of this program, applicants can potentially receive between USD 500 – 5000 in COVID scholarships.
How many scholarships are awarded each year?
In a typical academic year, almost 90% of the LLM candidates at TAU receive merit-based scholarships. Professor Avraham tells us that the reason for such a high proportion is “because 90% of our students have a GPA of 83 and above...and by university regulations only 10% of our students can have a GPA of 80”.
The program also awards 3-4 full tuition scholarships each academic year, and out of these, around half of the students are also provided living expenses for the duration of the program, in addition to the tuition expenses. In the class of 2021, TAU awarded 3 full scholarships to LLM candidates from India, Brazil and Ethiopia. As a caveat, the full-scholarships at TAU are extremely competitive, and Professor Avraham adds that “we are very happy to give it, but you have to be an exceptional student”.
For need-based financial aid, there is no fixed number of students who receive aid in each academic year, and it entirely depends on the corpus available with the program.
How to improve your chances of getting a scholarship
While the primary criteria in assessing scholarship applications is the applicant’s GPA, the admissions committee at TAU has a bit of discretion in deciding the amount of scholarship to be awarded. For instance, if an applicant’s GPA on the TAU scale is 83 – 90, then they’re eligible to receive between USD 2000-4000. The amount that the applicant finally receives depends on other things in their application – including work experience, the personal statement, achievements and volunteer work.
In particular, when the admissions committee is tasked with awarding scholarships to two students with the same GPA, “the personal statement is one of the most important things” in making this decision, and is something that Professor Avraham “always, always reads in the applicants’ file”.
As a result, candidates with well-rounded profiles with interesting points of notice in their CV and personal statement can potentially earn some brownie points with the admissions committee.
Watch CollegeIt’s complete session with Professor Avraham and Ms. Gontmaher to get more insights about the scholarship options at the Parasol Foundation International LLM Program.