Higher education is one of the great successes of the welfare state. What was once the privilege of a few has become a middle-class entitlement, thanks mainly to government support. Some 3.5M Americans and 5M Europeans will graduate this summer. In the emerging world universities are booming: China has added nearly 30M places in 20 years. Yet the business has changed little since Aristotle taught at the Athenian Lyceum: young students still gather at an appointed time and place to listen to the wisdom of scholars.
Now a revolution has begun , thanks to three forces: rising costs, changing demand and disruptive technology. The result will be the reinvention of the university.