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This book aims to provide an authoritative account of the evolution of policy in British higher education drawing extensively on previously untapped archival sources. It offers a comprehensive analysis of the policy drivers since 1945 and up to 2011 and of the extent to which even in the so called golden age of university autonomy in the immediate post War period the development of British higher education policy was closely integrated with government policies. In particular, it highlights how the role of the Treasury in determining the resource base for the expansion of student numbers is key to understanding many of the shifts in policy that occurred. This close engagement with government coupled with the historical acceptance of institutional autonomy defines the distinctiveness of the British higher education system as compared with other countries. What the book also shows, however, is that policy was rarely driven directly by Ministers but emerged out of inter relationships between the Treasury, the responsible Department, the intermediary bodies, the higher education representative bodies and the research communities. The policy process was interactive rather than directed. The conclusions offer a new interpretation of the development of British higher education.