The Forum of Free Enterprise is a non-political organization founded in 1956 by A. D. Shroff, and has been established to educate public opinion in India on free enterprise and a democratic way of life. The Forum publishes booklets to further its objects. The following booklet is titled “Higher Education at the Cross-roads of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries” was published in January 1999 and was authored by Dr. (Miss) A. S. DESAI. This booklet is a textual representation of the 33rd A.D. Shroff Memorial Lecture delivered by the author in Mumbai on 7th December 1998. The author discusses the role of higher education in fostering development. The author talks about the expansion of the higher education system and states that the expansion of higher education in India has been poorly planned. The author discusses access, equity, and quality of higher education. Further, the author talks about the impact of globalization on research in universities and the relationship of funding to global competition in higher education. The author discusses the changing role of higher education and states the University has a major role to play in national development, not only through its degree and diploma courses but also in meeting the needs of the community which supports the higher education sector. The author suggests a systemic change to correct various ailments that plague higher education. Finally, the author concludes with the view that our universities are sleeping giants, and once awakened they can make a vast difference in transforming our society and bringing it to the twenty-first century and all this can happen when there an academic, political, and administrative will to change the present structures of the system and see education as an investment and not an expenditure.