The Dynamics of Massification and Differentiation

A Comparative Look at Higher Education Systems in the United Kingdom and California

Institutional Management in Higher Education

US higher education and distinct state systems such as in California offer comparative models for UK higher education. This essay provides a comparative analysis of US and UK higher education, followed by a description of the development, and contemporary structure of California’s system. California offers a broadly accessible network of colleges and universities that are highly differentiated, and that collectively offers multiple routes to a higher education program and degree. It has also proven highly efficient in costs to taxpayers and students. This model provides a lens for an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of UK higher education, and in particular the highly decentralised systems in England and Wales. But in looking to California for possible inspiration, a few words of caution are offered. California may provide ideas about differentiation, governance, access and cost containment. It does not, however, offer much in regard to the difficult process and politics of reorganising or modifying significantly developed higher education systems like that in the United Kingdom.

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