The medieval university looked backwards; it professed to be a storehouse of old knowledge. The modern university looks forward and is a factory of new knowledge.
Higher Education is on a slippery slope. Many institutions are hanging on by a thread, dependent on tuitions and protected by a non-profit status, they are living far beyond their years. But this too is changing, we are seeing institutions closing, institutions merging and in some cases tuitions being lowered in an effort to stay alive. There are 5,300 institutions of higher education in the United States and most are in financial trouble. These institutions do not have a 36-billion-dollar endowment like Harvard and they are not part of the top 10% of America’s prestigious institutions that have been the envy of the world for so long. There are 448 institutions of higher education in California alone, more than any other state. New York is next followed by Pennsylvania and Texas. Boston has more four-year institutions than any other city, 35 in metropolitan Boston and 98 in the greater Boston area, followed by the Philadelphia area with 72 and Washington, D.C. with 20 in the city and many more depending on how far you go into Maryland and Virginia. Some of these schools are large some are small, but most are private, tuition dependent and struggling.
There are 710 public institutions of higher education and the rest are private non-profit and for-profit institutions. The distinction is one of tax status, not desire to generate revenue. The costs of operating these institutions has skyrocketed with more than 65% of administrative cost coming from non-revenue related sources.