Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pedro Nuno Teixeira (Editor-in-Chief), Jung-Cheol Shin (Editor-in-Chief)

Access to Higher Education in Europe, Trends

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_305-1



Access questions a student ability to enroll in any tertiary institution. Although equal access is formally guaranteed in almost all systems of tertiary education in developed countries, the influence of ascriptive factors remains generally strong. To a certain extent, it is an unintended consequence of the meritocratic principle that is therefore criticized on the grounds that, although it emphasizes competence and results, in fact it favors those who have had better conditions for achieving them only due to a more stimulating and richer (in economic, social, and cultural terms) family background. Ascription occurs when social class or stratum placement is primarily hereditary. In other words, people are placed in positions in a stratification system because of qualities beyond their control. Race, social class, strata or group (parental characteristics), sex, age, and ethnicity are good examples of these qualities. Ascription is...


Tertiary Education Attainment Lithuania (LT) Postwar Democratization Average European Level Low Inequality Levels 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education Policy CentreCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic