Since 1989, Romania has gone through over two decades of higher education reforms. While the student population had one of the biggest increases in Europe, from 192.810 students in 1990/1991 to 907.353 students in 2008/2009, it had dropped drastically to 464.592 students by 2012. If the situation has improved in terms of access of a higher number of students to higher education, compared with 1990, higher education continues to favour the wealthiest segments of the population. Even though Romania has several commitments at the European level regarding equity in higher education (Bologna Process, Europe 2020 Strategy), the data show low participation rates for students from disadvantaged groups such as rural students, students from low-income families, disabled students or Roma students. Learning from the national policies which did not translate into institutional realities, the article tries to establish how Romania’s commitments regarding equity in higher education within the Bologna Process are framed into national policies and how higher education institutions understand the concept of “equity” in terms of implementing the national policies or developing their own, with an emphasis on access and participation in higher education.

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