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Today in the world where the basic criterion for development in every country is the level of the education, science and technology, it has economic, social, cultural and democratic dimensions. In Turkey as well, higher education has been adopted as the main principle for rising to the level of standards in the globalizing world both from the aspect of quality and quantity.

The plans and programs made have always reflected this perception. As a matter of fact, since the founding of the Republic until the present, important developments have been made in higher education from the aspect of quality and quantity. This development process, which started in 1933 when the Darulfunun was transformed into Istanbul University, gained momentum especially in recent years and the number of universities in the 1996-1997 education-training school year reached 62.

Today, together with Atilim, Istanbul Kultur, Dogus, Cankaya, Maltepe, Beykent and Cag Universities established in 1997, educational activities are being carried out at 69 universities, sixteen of which are foundation universities.

Higher education institutions include all the educational institutions after secondary education, which provide at least two years of higher education and educate students for associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree levels. Institutions of higher education consist of universities, faculties, institutes, higher education institutions, conservatories, vocational higher schools and application research centers.

During the 1998-1999 school year a total of 1,464,740 students, including the open university students, receive education at higher education institutions and a total of 20,608 teaching staff work. There are 553 faculties, 200 higher education institutions, 251 institutes and 475 vocational higher education institutions within the structure of the universities. The number of students receiving education abroad with official scholarships, with the objective of educating teaching staff for the universities are 1,016 with 40 at bachelor's degree level and 976 at master's or doctorate degree levels.

A great majority of the students receiving higher education in Turkey are receiving Education and Contribution (Expenses) loans from the Higher Education Credit and Dormitories Institution (Yurt-Kur). Dormitories are provided to meet the accommodation needs of the students. The monthly student loans and loan allocation quotas are increased annually and it is ensured that more students benefit from this opportunity every year.

At present, a total of 152,553 students at associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree levels are being paid educational loans and 199,647 students benefit from the contribution loans. A total of 167,440 students including 84,206 female and 83,234 male students benefit from the dormitory services, supported by nutrition, health, guidance and consultation services, and social, cultural, and athletic activities. Furthermore, the state, the private sector, and the nongovernmental organizations provide scholarships for the successful students.

Faculties and higher education institutions connected to the universities accept students according to the results of the one-stage examinations held once a year by the Center for Student Selection and Placement (OSYM) connected to the Higher Education Council. A separate examination is held every year by OSYM for the foreign students who want to receive their higher education in Turkey.

Because the language of the examination is both in Turkish and English, it is not necessary to know Turkish in order to take this examination. Students who pass the examination and acquire the right to receive higher education in Turkey and whose knowledge of Turkish is inadequate, are considered to be on leave for one year to learn the language after they have registered at the university. The Turkish Education Center (TOMER), affiliated to Ankara University, provides services to teach Turkish to foreigners. Furthermore, universities in Istanbul and Izmir also offer courses for foreigners who want to learn Turkish.