European higher education has been facing persistent pressures towards expansion, which have led in many countries to the emergence of a variety of private providers. The aim of this chapter is to present various challenges fostered by the growth of privatization in higher education, as well as to draw some major patterns of private higher education sectors in Europe. The analysis will reflect on the major legal and regulatory challenges faced by those systems regarding the potential contribution of private higher education. We start by sketching the historical forces shaping the development of private higher education. Then some of the main trends associated with that expansion of private and for-profit higher education are presented and discussed against the background of European higher education. We also discuss the main regulatory issues associated with the development of this sector, notably by focusing on legal changes, quality assurance and funding. We conclude by reflecting on the main future challenges that this sector may pose to higher education in Europe.
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