Key Points

An analysis of the higher education systems of 35 developed countries reveals that nations face trade-offs between large government subsidies for higher education and other desirable qualities, such as widespread degree attainment and well-resourced universities. The United States ranks 31st of 35 countries on government support for higher education but 11th on degree attainment and third on resources available to colleges. It is rare for a country to design a higher education system that combines high attainment and well-resourced schools with high government subsidies; more often than not, a nation that pursues one of these goals must sacrifice another.

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Executive Summary

By international standards, American colleges charge high tuition, and students must often take out loans to cover the cost

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