At the early stages of the Bologna Process, European leaders made an unprecedented political affirmation of the importance of student participation in the governance of higher education systems and institutions. The enhanced engagement of students became one of the principles of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and has been perceived as a political objective, substantial value and procedural principle at the same time. 

Even so, student participation is currently far from the desired standards both in terms of quantity and quality, and the engagement of underrepresented and disadvantaged groups of students is almost non-existent. In order to promote good governance and inclusion, these challenges need to be addressed forthwith at the institutional, national and European level.

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