Foro de Educación (Jul 2016)

Admission Systems and Student Mobility: A Proposal for an EU-Wide Registry for University Admission

  • Cecile Hoareau McGrath,
  • Michael Frearson

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 21
pp. 167 – 195


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Europe’s higher education systems are struggling to respond to the established mass demand for higher education, especially given the proportional decline in available resources per student and, more generally the demand for an ever longer education and reduction of the population of working age due to demographic decline. In addition, growing student mobility puts pressure on admission systems to set up relevant procedures for applicants who wish to enter a country. Admission systems to higher education constitute one key element in the mitigation of these challenges. Admissions can regulate student flows, and play a key role in guaranteeing the acquisition of skills in higher education by matching student profiles to their desired courses of study. This article puts European admission systems in perspective. The issue of regulation of student mobility is topical, given the broader and salient discussion on migration flows in Europe. The article uses international comparisons with systems such as the US, Australia and Japan, to provide a critical overview of the role of admission systems in an often overlooked but yet fundamental part of the European Higher Education Area, namely student mobility. The paper also argues for the creation of an information-sharing EU registry on admissions practices for mobile students.