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College Choices Have Consequences

Dec 2012
Policy Brief
By  Caroline Hoxby
Of all countries, the United States has perhaps the greatest range of postsecondary institutions. Its top research universities and elite liberal arts colleges have the richest resources per student in the world. At the other extreme, citizens of other wealthy countries are often surprised by the modest resources and minimal admissions standards of some American postsecondary programs, a good share of which have little history of accreditation. It is not a coincidence that the United States has such a broad array of institutions: It is a manifestation of the country’s having a fairly free market for postsecondary education, one that allows startups, program innovation, and participation by non-public entities—both non-profit and for-profit.