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ERIC Number: ED557999
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb-5
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Liberalizing Cross-Border Trade in Higher Education: The Coming Revolution of Online Universities. Policy Analysis No. 720
Lester, Simon
Cato Institute
Recent developments in higher education--with leading institutions starting to offer courses online--suggest that the Internet is going to disrupt this industry, just as it has already disrupted the music and book industries, as well as many others. We are entering a period of experimentation with new business models for higher education, with MOOCs (massive open online courses) being the most prominent among these. Regardless of the specific form the new industry will take, there is likely to be more competition, lower costs, and higher quality. This is great news for consumers of higher education; however, some existing institutions may fare badly in this transition, and are likely to call for government support. The call for support would happen even if higher education were exclusively a national market. Demands for government protection will be even stronger where foreign online competition is hurting traditional domestic institutions. With education now moving online, it has become tradable across borders like never before. Until now, trade in education was fairly small in scope, limited mostly to students studying abroad and a few foreign branch campuses. The growth of online education will make international trade in higher education services far more common. In response to this increasing trade, there are likely to be complaints about the impact of foreign competition on domestic institutions. The great beneficiaries of the coming online revolution in higher education are people all around the world looking for access to better educational opportunities. This paper encourages embracing this new period of innovation in higher education instead of working against these advancements. One way to promote free trade in higher education is with international trade agreements. Through these agreements, governments can make commitments not to discriminate against foreign online higher education programs. This policy analysis proposes that the same model that has been used to bring down tariffs and other protectionist trade barriers through trade agreements should be used to bring the benefits of international competition to trade in higher education services. [Contains 47 notes.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cato Institute