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Higher education in Europe: Widening participation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWidening Higher Education Participation
Subtitle of host publicationA Global Perspective
EditorsMohsood Shah, Anna Bennett, Erica Southgate
Place of PublicationKidlington
PublisherChandos Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-100213-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


There is considerable variation in access to higher education for non-traditional students across Europe. Countries like Sweden have a long tradition of widening access and in the UK measures have been in place for some time. However, access is far more limited in many other European countries. The social dimension in the Bologna Process was adopted to encourage Bologna Process countries to develop widening access strategies; this has been augmented by the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) adopted by the EU. These measures are part of ‘soft law’, they are not legally binding and depend on countries’ willingness to adopt the measures. Although there have been some improvement in access for non-traditional students, progress is slow and tends to be limited to less prestigious higher education institutions. In the case of Sweden, there is evidence of measures aimed at non-traditional students being used by all students. Whilst some countries monitor the impact of their widening access measures many do not, which suggests that widening access to higher education is not a high priority in many European countries.

    Research areas

  • Social dimension, Bologna Process, entry routes to higher education

ID: 19427101