The organization and composition of higher education varies greatly across the vast numbers of countries that canvas the globe. For instance, America's system of higher education was influenced by the early English model, which emphasized residential undergraduate education, and the German model, which stressed research. Mixed with these influences were also the democratic ideals of the American society that stressed that higher education should represent a public good and be responsive to the needs of the American people.
There are many reasons why people pursue higher education. For some, higher education reflects advanced study that allows them to further develop their own individual talents and abilities. Along with benefitting the individual, it is believed that nurturing personal growth also inevitably spurs societal progress. For others, higher education is generally perceived as preparation for a career or vocation.