This brief shows how higher education in Europe is continuously subject to change, with new entries, mergers and foundations of new institutions. The main highlights are:
- European higher education is formed of layers created in different historical periods and with different policy goals.
- Older universities, mostly founded before the 20th century, still enrol a large share of undergraduate students and most PhD students.
- Universities of applied sciences only became significant in numbers and students from the 1970s.
- Mergers and consolidations into larger institutions occur rather frequently, while HEI closures are rare and limited to private HEIs.