Alex Usher

Alex Usher is President of Higher Education Strategy Associates, a consultancy based in Toronto, Canada with a practice that includes work on all six continents.  He is the author or co-author of many works on access, student financial assistance, higher education finance and quality measurement.  His most recent major work, with Dominic Orr and Johannes Wespel of the German Centre for Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW), is Do Changes in Cost-Sharing Have an Impact on the Behaviour of Students and Higher Education Institutions? Evidence from Nine-Case Studies.  He writes a daily column on higher education called One Thought to Start Your Day which can be found at

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Most Recent Articles

June 17, 2019
Finding ways to help colleges better measure “distance travelled” with an eye to evening up admissions systems which are almost unavoidably tilted towards the children of the elite, seems like an awfully good idea. 
May 1, 2019
Most of the various “excellence schemes” adopted all over the world in the first years of this century have made precious little difference in terms of shaking up the global academic hierarchy
February 10, 2019
One of the significant challenges in analyzing policies around international student mobility is that there are multiple competing logics at work.
September 8, 2018
Canada is perhaps the one country which is getting “high tuition/high aid” right, and for that reason is worth careful study.
November 5, 2017
There have been substantial policy changes in loan rates across countries over the last couple of decades.
October 1, 2017
A glimpse into the finances of top Chinese universities suggests they share more than we might have imagined with American flagship public universities, but also that claims of imminent “catch up” might be overblown
September 20, 2017
Basically, all flagship universities are world-class universities, but not vice-versa. They are world-class universities with a heart, essentially.
March 5, 2017
Targeted free tuition makes lots of sense, but it really does need to be targeted.
May 18, 2016
A few weeks ago, the Times Higher Education published a new ranking of “top attractors of industry funds." In these two essays Alex Usher and Phil Baty offer two perspectives on the usefulness and validity of this newest ranking.
March 27, 2016
Qataris are paying hundreds of millions a year for – the right to be associated with the prestige of several institutions. That’s what brand is all about— apparently, it’s worth up to a couple of hundred thousand dollars per student.  


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