e Eect of Rankings on Student Choice and Institutional Selection
A dominant trend in higher education over the last two centuries has been expanding participation. Initially, this was viewed as part of the organic growth of the middle class. Universities were attended by a small intellectual or social elite and their role was teaching universal knowledge. By the early nineteenth century, Europe, under the influence of the scientific revolution, became the training ground for professionals. The US Land Grant University, developed under the 1862 Morrill Act, was probably the first ‘mass’ higher education institution; focused on teaching agriculture, science, and engineering as a response to the industrial revolution, it sought to meet the needs of a changing social-class structure, rather than simply concentrate on the historic core of classical studies. The American graduate school of the early twentieth century played a similar role for the next generation of scholar-researchers. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the post-World War II era in Europe provided the impetus for rapid change and further expansion – new institutional models, notably community colleges in the US and Fachhochschulen, institutes of technology and polytechnics, etc. in Europe and elsewhere, catered for a wider range of socio-economic and learner groups, educational requirements and new careers in ‘technical, semi-professional, and managerial occupations’ (Trow, 1974: 146). Similar trends are apparent around the world.