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Comparing and Learning From English and American Higher Education Access and Completion Policies

By Kevin Dougherty & Claire Callender
Comparing and Learning From English and American Higher Education Access and Completion Policies

England and the United States provide a very interesting pairing as countries with many similarities, but also instructive dissimilarities, with respect to their policies for higher education access and success. In this journal article, the authors focus on five key policy strands: student information provision; outreach from higher education institutions; student financial aid; affirmative action or contextualization in higher education admissions; and programs to improve higher education retention and completion. At the end, they draw conclusions on what England and the U.S. can learn from each other.

The U.S. would benefit from following England in using Access and Participation Plans to govern university outreach efforts, making more use of income-contingent loans, and expanding the range of information provided to prospective higher education students. Meanwhile, England would benefit from following the U.S. in making greater use of grant aid to students, devoting more policy attention to educational decisions students are making in early secondary school, and expanding its use of contextualized admissions. While the authors focus on England and the U.S., their policy recommendations carry wider applicability. Many other countries with somewhat similar educational structures, experiences, and challenges could learn useful lessons from the policy experiences of these two countries.