The Economist has a survey on higher education. It starts by identifying four fundamental changes:
The first is the democratisation of higher educationmassification, in the language of the educational profession….The second reason is the rise of the knowledge economy. The world is in the grips of a soft revolution in which knowledge is replacing physical resources as the main driver of economic growth….The third factor is globalisation. The death of distance is transforming academia just as radically as it is transforming business….The fourth is competition. Traditional universities are being forced to compete for students and research grants, and private companies are trying to break into a sector which they regard as the new health care.