What contributed to the growth of universities in the Middle Ages?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are at least two factors that led to the growth of universities in the Middle Ages.  One of these factors was the growing wealth that various areas of Europe were coming to enjoy in the High Middle Ages.  The other factor was the growing need for professionals to take part in governing the state and the Church.

Although we think of the Middle Ages as a time of poverty, this is not true of that entire time period.  By the High Middle Ages, Europe was becoming more prosperous.  This meant that there came to be more cathedrals, each with its own school.  Without wealth, towns could not have supported cathedrals and cathedrals could not have supported schools.  These schools eventually turned into universities in some cases.

One reason why they did turn into universities was that the Church and the secular governments were becoming more organized.  They needed educated people to serve in positions of authority.  The universities were a way of training the people who would fill these positions.

Thus, the rise of the university showed that Europe was progressing in some ways to be a richer and more organized society.

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