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International Perspectives on Higher Education Admission Policy

A Reader


Edited By Virginia Stead

The promise of this admission policy reader arises from the embodiment of research from 58 authors, six continents, 20 time zones, 20+ first languages, and a broad array of research methodologies. Four sections aggregate key themes within the text:
(1) National Perspectives on Higher Education Admission Policy;
(2) Theoretical Approaches to Higher Education Admission Policy;
(3) Applicant Recruitment and Student Support Services in Higher Education; and
(4) Diversity and Equity in Higher Education Admission Policy Implementation.
This book's global chorus of professional experience, investigation, and insight is unprecedented in its breadth and depth, illuminating a rare swath of challenges and opportunities that Internet-sourced international higher education makes visible. Although each chapter is an independent research report, together they generate a new landscape for admission policy orientation, exploration, and activism. The sheer range of policies and organizational infrastructure will alert all readers to many complexities within the admissions process that remain invisible within single or multiple but similar cultural and political contexts.
Many of these authors have demonstrated courage along with their intellectual acumen in tackling politically sensitive, culturally taboo, and personally dangerous topics within their research. Theirs is a moving testimony to the global quest for fairness within the world of admission policy implementation and to the power of access to higher education. Together, we are determined to advance equitable admissions praxis within all institutions of higher learning and promising futures for all students.
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20 Undergraduate Admissions as U.S. Public Policy


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Undergraduate Admissions as U.S. Public Policy

Grant H. Blume


Equitable access to higher education is a pressing public issue in the United States (Bergerson, 2009) and of increasing concern in other countries around the world (see Aghion, Dewatripont, Hoxby, Mas-Colell, & Sapir, 2008; Altbach, 2004; Mueller, 2008). Policies to increase the rates at which individuals attend college in the United States focus on better academic preparation for college-bound students, financial aid to decrease the cost of college attendance, and special programs that help disadvantaged students navigate their transition into postsecondary education (Perna, 2006). Yet missing from the scholarly study of college access policy is the notion that a diverse set of constituencies try to, and often achieve, changes to undergraduate admissions policy to increase or restrict postsecondary access in a wide range of contexts.

Increasing postsecondary access in the United States hinges in large part on the gateway through which millions of students access higher education: undergraduate admissions policy at American public universities. The benefits of attending a public university, both for individual students and for society writ large, make admission criteria especially consequential for the students who are accepted and excluded by this type of policy. In her analysis of affirmative action and admissions policy in the United States, Deborah Stone (2002) notes that “all selection criteria are decision rules that include some people and exclude others” (p. 391).

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