Postsecondary education is becoming a more and more fashionable term in discussions of future policy for education. The idea of postsecondary education is attractive to the liberal for parallel reasons. If postsecondary education has gained popularity as a negative concept in opposition to higher education, it has also grown out of the expansion of higher education itself. This chapter presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the historical background; how Americans came to place an unusual trust in education as an agent of national unity and of political democracy as well as of learning. It describes the structure and institutions of postsecondary education in the United States today, concentrating on the non- traditional periphery rather than the college core. The book examines recent developments in England and France and new philosophies of postsecondary education and new patterns for its organisation.