[[abstract]]The condition of higher education is an important indicator of a nation's competitiveness in the modern knowledge-based world economy. Higher education builds up a nation's human resources by equipping students with advanced knowledge, professional skills, and critical and creative thinking ability. Higher education institutions are significant, thriving places where new knowledge and technology, which are both underwriters and catalysts for a nation's economic growth and competitiveness, are generated. For these reasons, over recent decades most nations around the world have devoted great efforts to development of their higher education systems. East Asia is a case in point. Its higher education system has been greatly expanded since World War II and the results are impressive, as reflected in the growth in the number of private colleges and universities. However, expansion of higher education has raised some new issues, which are discussed in this article. To address these issues, East Asian governments as well as individual institutions have initiated various policies and reform programs in recent years. This article presents a review of those policies and programs.