Pressure from society and a growing need for education and specialised knowledge require new ways of facilitating access to learning and documentation of qualifications. Traditional universities do not have capacity to meet these challenges at their own premises. The use of ICT and Internet seems to be a possible way to increase access and capacity. In order to keep costs and efforts at a reasonable level without lowering study quality or staff qualifications, collaboration and sharing of material and competence may be the best option. This has been tested over the past 20 years in different plans and projects. Experiences from three projects are presented in this paper: NITOL (Norway-net with IT for Open Learning) as a national project in Norway, MENU (Model for a European Networked University) at a European level, and UNU-GVU (Global Virtual University) with students and partners around the World. The analysis of positive and negative findings leads up to certain recommendations that may be of value for future attempts to exploit the full potential of collaboration between universities. Hopefully the establishment of collaborative virtual universities can meet some of the global needs for higher education.