ERIC Number: ED187187
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Limits of Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Factors Affecting Enrollment Levels in Belgium, France, Japan and the United States.
Geiger, Roger L.
A comparative analysis of enrollment influences in four countries is presented. From the enrollment histories of the 1970's in Belgium, France, Japan, and the United States several generalizations are drawn: (1) while demographic growth in young people produced difficult labor market conditions at all levels of educational preparation, college graduates in particular felt a decline in career prospects, a situation made worse by general economic depression after 1973; (2) total private demand for traditional or long university study ceased growing by mid-decade; (3) ability and socioeconomic factors in educational demand varied in the four countries; (4) educational and career demand from all ability levels has caused increasing meritocratic selection in programs with surest and largest career rewards; (5) for students with neither high ability nor high socioeconomic status educational demand has largely been diverted to shorter programs or non-university programs; (6) where the time and effort necessary for postsecondary study is variable and costs are low (France and the United States) the phenomenon of "discounting" occurs, or a reduction in the investment of student resources commensurate with lower anticipated career rewards; and (7) though a portion of educational demand can be accounted for by technological advancement, much of this is the product of the penalty effect, credential inflation, and the promotion of certain types of education to postsecondary status. These factors put into a different perspective the earlier vision of universal higher education: a significant proportion of young adults have talents best developed outside the classroom. A growing proportion of graduates will cause incentives for graduate careers to regress toward the mean, weakening the principal motivation to seek postsecondary education. In these four nations it is felt that the limits of mass higher education have been reached. (Author/MSE)
Descriptors: Academic Ability, Academic Aspiration, Access to Education, Careers, Comparative Education, Degrees (Academic), Educational Benefits, Educational Change, Educational Demand, Educational History, Educational Supply, Enrollment Influences, Enrollment Trends, Equal Education, Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Occupational Aspiration
Higher Education Research Group, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, 1732 Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Lilly Endowment, Inc., Indianapolis, IN.; EXXON Education Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Yale Univ., New Haven, CT. Inst. for Social and Policy Studies.
Identifiers: Belgium; Europe; France; Japan; United States