In recent years most western democracies have experienced a shift from elite to mass higher education, with the United States leading the way. This text compares the experience of this very important social change within different nation states. Whilst recognizing the critical global economic forces that appear to explain the international nature of the change, it sees the issues as rooted within different national traditions.There is a particular focus upon the discourse of access, especially the political discourse. The book addresses questions such as: * How has expansion been explained?* Has expansion been generated by state intervention or by a combination of economic and social forces?* What are the forms of political intervention?* What points of agreement and conflict are generated within the wider society by expanding access? Leading academic experts explore the ways in which different systems of higher education have accommodated mass access, constructing comparative pictures and comparative interpretations and lessons in an accessible and informative style. This book should be critical reading for students in education, sociology and politics, as well as policy-makers and academics.