Title: Increasing access but not equity: higher education policy and participation in Mexico

Authors: Shaye S. Worthman; Manuel Palma-Cornejo; Adriana Rueda-Barrios

Addresses: School of Social Sciences and Government, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Atlixcáyotl 5718, Reserva Territorial Atlixcáyotl, 72453 Puebla, Mexico ' School of Social Sciences and Government, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Atlixcáyotl 5718, Reserva Territorial Atlixcáyotl, 72453 Puebla, Mexico ' School of Social Sciences and Government, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Atlixcáyotl 5718, Reserva Territorial Atlixcáyotl, 72453 Puebla, Mexico

Abstract: Given Mexico's comparatively low coverage of higher education, concerns about inequalities in participation persist, especially between different social groups. The current study examined participation trends associated with Mexico's expansion of higher education coverage since the country's neoliberal turn in the 1990s, reviewing education policies across six presidential administrations and analysing household data provided by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography to compare socio-demographic characteristics of higher education students from 1994 to 2018. Findings indicate that although higher education coverage increased during this time period, inequalities persist between young people from different economic backgrounds, rural and urban areas, and indigenous and non-indigenous groups, thereby reproducing social disparities. Moreover, the most economically advantaged in society have most benefited from the expansion in the higher education system. The paper concludes by discussing alternative policy approaches that focus directly on disadvantaged groups to promote equity and inclusion in the higher education system.

Keywords: higher education; higher education policy; access to higher education; inequality of opportunity; educational equity; income distribution; educational opportunity; university enrolment; Mexico; Latin America.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEED.2022.10049191

International Journal of Education Economics and Development, 2022 Vol.13 No.4, pp.343 - 363

Received: 25 Dec 2020
Accepted: 13 May 2021

Published online: 07 Sep 2022 *

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