The number of students pursuing degrees rose by 4% for the 2007-2008 academic year, reaching 263,584. The growth rate has slowed down to only 4% a year this decade, compared to 8% a year in the 1990s, when higher education became more accessible to the Israeli public. There are 65 institutions of higher learning in Israel, and 79.6% of students are studying for a bachelor's degree. Post-graduate students taking masters’ degrees numbered 43,463, or 16.4% of the student body. PhD students numbered 10,300, or 4.0% of the student body. The total excludes the 44,327 students studying at the Open University and the 1,210 non-degree diploma students. The Council for Higher Education accredits all new institutions and programs and authorizes them to award academic degrees. The growing number of entering college students has changed the profile of Israeli higher education. The growth in the student population has led to the establishment of new colleges to meet the demand of qualified students. These colleges are accredited and must offer the same quality of education as the BAs taught in the local universities. Undergraduate students are entering these institutions in ever-increasing numbers (54.8% of all undergraduate students in 2007/8), thereby allowing the eight universities to focus more on graduate and research level studies. Today, institutions of higher education in Israel include 8 universities, 8 regional colleges associated with universities, 23 other regional colleges, 22 teacher training colleges, 12 institutions that offer a diploma recognized by the Ministry of Education, 11 art schools, and 59 technological colleges. In 2008, revenues of the top 20 local universities and community colleges exceeded $2 billion.
Israeli undergraduate students typically apply for law, psychology, medicine, and veterinary medicine, engineering-and fields that are not offered as BAs in Israel such as hotel administration, advertising, art and therapy. Short-term or non-degree study includes fields such as English language, culinary arts, sound engineering, jazz or acting, architecture and institutions offering sports scholarships. Popular majors include: law, clinical psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, business, culinary arts, film, music, video editing, advertising, East Asian studies, international relations, computer sciences, architecture, social work, mass communications, pre-med, and life sciences. Increasingly popular is ecology, environmental sciences, make up artistry, image consulting, drug and substance abuse counseling, and various expressive therapies.