By and large, universities can be considered a national project with an international vocation. Historically, higher education has been strongly associated with nation-building. There are multiple examples of the importance of internationalisation, regionalisation, and globalisation in higher education, such as frequent international student mobility and international collaborations in teaching and research, the existence of collective international initiatives such as the Bologna Process in Europe, or the existence of global higher education rankings. Yet today, and whilst higher education policy is not only constructed at the national level, the national level continues to be central and shapes much of its contours.

Governments use two basic policy instruments in higher education: (1) funding and (2) regulation. For example, using the term ‘university’ or to pretend to offer university ...

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