Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 1720
In this paper we compare the Brazilian tertiary education system to the ones in five well-succeeded countries that have promoted significant efforts to develop their higher education, using 2006 data. The results suggest trade-offs between the goals of access and equity, on the one hand, and of quality and cost, in the other. This implies the need for the establishment of priorities. The main highlight was the American system, followed by the British. Though, it is not possible to ensure that these systems, or their results, can be replicated. The main policy recommendations for Brazilian undergraduate education are: the promotion of efforts create an incentive mechanism similar to those present in graduate education, mainly in order to increase the efficiency of the Brazilian public institutions; the relative increase of state-funded scholarships and loans for students heading for the private sector and the heavy investment on the lower levels of education, as a way to elevate the equity of the system.