Chilean Higher Education

The CSHPE study abroad trip will take place in Chile is because the Chilean higher education system has several unique and distinct characteristics, which makes it a particularly interesting system to study. For example, the number of higher education institutions in Chile has increased dramatically in the past several decades.

Below are a few notes that provide a brief introduction to what CSHPE participants will learn more about during the next 10 days.

  • Three major forces have influenced Chilean higher education recently:
    • Student-led protests and reforms (We are especially excited to have meetings planned on Thursday with former student leaders, involved in these movements, from different periods)
    • The military regime of 1973-1990
    • “The recent emergencies of a higher education market” (Brunner & Tillett, 2006, p. 650) from a state-controlled system.
  • Universities are referred to as higher education, while professional institutes (IPs) and technical training centers (CFTs) are considered tertiary education.
  • The Chilean higher education system has seen an immense increase in its number of postsecondary institutions over the past several decades. In 1980, eight universities made up the entire higher education system. In 2003, 63 universities existed, in addition to 165 IPs and CFTs, institutional types that have come into existence during the past 30 years.
  • “In 1980…approximately 120,000 young people graduated annually from secondary schools, and 30,000 went on to higher education: one of four. At present, of the 220,000 annual graduates from secondary schools, 120,000 enter universities: nearly one in two” (Espinoza & Gonzalez, 2013, p. 2).

We have structured our time in Chile in a way that will expose participants to a variety of institutional types (both newer and more traditional), in addition to provide the opportunity to learn more about major cultural and historical influences that have shaped the Chilean higher education system to be what it is today.

Please re-visit this blog in order to read more about what we learn on this trip!

Brunner, J. J. & Tilletter, A. (2006). Chile. In J. J. F. Forest & P.G. Altbach (Eds.), International handbook of higher education, (pp. 647-666). Netherlands: Springer.

Espinoza, O. & Gonzalez, L.E. (2013). Access to Higher Education in Chile: A Public vs. Private Analysis. Open file published by Springer, retrieved from