The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) has launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising 1 million shekels (approximately $300,000) to ensure that all of the institution’s students can successfully navigate the all-encompassing fallout of COVID-19 and complete their studies.

Amid the unprecedented medical, financial, academic, emotional, and social aftershocks of the pandemic, donations to JCT’s “No Student Left Behind” campaign on the secure online platform JGive will fund scholarships and living stipends for students who stand at risk of dropping out of school without that support. The College has secured more than 500,000 shekels ($152,000) in matching funds for the campaign.

Thousands of JCT students rely on the College for financial assistance throughout their studies, and scholarship requests have surged this year due to the stark financial realities associated with the pandemic.

“Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a scientist, but I didn’t really have the means to support myself financially. JCT has allowed me to pursue my dreams,” said Natalie Fardian, a graduate of JCT’s program in electro-optics engineering.

Aside from scholarships, JCT has supported its students during the pandemic by arranging a laptop-loan program, offering extra teaching hours on Zoom, providing students with at-home lab equipment, offering counseling at all hours and establishing an emergency COVID-19 loan fund.

“With the coronavirus crisis creating stress factors in all areas of life, many students are unable to cope with the combination of their academic burden and the cost of tuition,” said JCT Vice President Stuart Hershkowitz. “A large proportion of our students have families to support and have no way to earn a living during their studies. The College provides scholarships for those students on an annual basis, but our funding sources for scholarships have been diminished due to the pandemic. If students drop out of school because of these financial obstacles, the implications will be damaging for the entire Israeli economy and health care system.”

JCT’s long-term priorities include empowering underserved populations through specialized programs that meet their unique needs and pave the way toward their future employment, including Haredim and Ethiopian immigrants; positioning graduates for high-level positions in Israel’s high-tech industry as well as in the business, science, and health sectors; and helping religiously observant students strike a balance between Torah study and academics.

Haredi graduates of JCT have attained an 89-percent employment rate, far exceeding the roughly 50-percent employment rate for Haredi men throughout Israel. Twenty percent of women who study computer science in Israel are enrolled at JCT; 53 percent of all the College’s computer science students are women – 18 percent higher than any other Israeli academic institution. Through the Reuven Surkis Program for Students from the Ethiopian Community, JCT students from Ethiopian families attain a 95-percent employment rate.

“Over the years, our more than 12,000 graduates have not only integrated into the Israeli workforce,” the crowdfunding campaign states, “They’ve also become leaders in their fields: They’ve helped develop Iron Dome and the Arrow missile defense system. They’re the founders of the high-tech company NDS, and the winners of Israel’s most prestigious prizes for security. And they’re the nurses in Israel’s health clinics, and the managers of the wards of its busiest hospitals. We are proud of our graduates, the hard-working men and women from across Israel’s religious, socio-economic, and ideological spectrum who contribute to the strength, security, and prosperity of the Jewish state.”

The campaign can be found on JGive here:

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