Maybe some of the confusion could be cleared up if, instead of talking about the difference between "college" and "university", we talk about the difference between "høyskole" and "universitet". Do some høyskoler offer graduate degrees, and if so, how are they different from universiteter?
OK folks, having run through this lesson for a fourth time without a good clarification on the differences between høyskoler and universiteter spurred me on to do some research.
It appears that there are two main differences between universiteter and høyskoler. The first is that the Norwegian government has granted the status of university to the first and not the second. The other main difference appears to be their histories. In the past, høyskoler traditionally emphasized academic programs less and emphasized vocational programs more (such as teacher education and nursing), as well as shorter technical education. That distinction seems to be of lesser importance these days. Remaining differences have been gradually reduced through legislation. Both now have the same structure, are governed by the same law, and have the same duty to offer researched-based education.