Conclusions: High participation higher education in the post-Trow era
The concluding chapter takes stock of the book’s core notion of high participation systems (HPS) of higher education, in the context of the eight country studies and seventeen HPS propositions. The propositions engender extensive, though not unanimous, support. Declining institutional diversity and more complex governance are broadly agreed, but Finland and Norway differ from the other cases in stratification and equity. The HPS theory and findings are compared and contrasted with Martin Trow’s seminal work. The book ends with a central and enduring tension in HPS. Higher education as self-formation empowers individual agency in HPS on a larger and more inclusive scale. Yet, in HPS those without higher education are more disadvantaged; the average graduate has less social and occupational distinction; and secular tendencies to intensive competition for elite education and institutional bifurcation lead to greater inequality in educational and social outcomes, unless Nordic-style values are sustained.