This paper compares and contrasts international experience with respect to higher education financing. The size and payment forms of tuition, and the different types and levels of public sector support, are illustrated for a large number of countries. A major aspect of the discussion concerns the conceptual bases and the costs and benefits of the two different instruments of government intervention for student financing: guaranteed bank loans, and income contingent loans. It is argued that income contingent loans have a number of advantages over government guaranteed bank loans, and this seems to be increasingly recognised with respect to international adoption of the former. However, to be efficacious income contingent loan systems require sophisticated institutional and administrative repayment collection arrangements.