Higher education expanded rapidly worldwide after World War II. At the beginning of the period, there were many doubts about its contribution to development. These negative assessments receded over time, and changed to positive ones with neoliberal global hegemony: Education was central to the model, and expanded very rapidly. In particular, many social effects of higher education were reconceptualized as economically valuable “service sector” activities. Recent global attacks on neoliberalism – and on its higher educational component – may alter these trends, weakening and redirecting educational foci.