While the number of universities was limited to 21 in 1981, by 1992, 21 state and 2 foundation universities were added to this number, and 18 new foundation universities were established between 1994 and 1998. Establishment of as much as 41 new universities in 1990s indicates that a 'boom' in number of universities was experienced for the first time and this triggered the process which shaped the universities. Today this number reached to 139 universities (94 state, 45 foundation). In this study, the rapid quantitative development in the number of universities and students in Turkish higher education and proliferation of universities in the country in the 1990s which took over the 1981 university reform is analyzed. Difficulties of public and private sector in keeping up with quantitative increase of students and institutions constitute the background of this. Moreover, despite the number of institutions and students being tripled between 1982 and 1996, the resources allocated to higher education in the same period increased only by 15-20%. Universities which faced resource problems have difficulties in fulfilling their needs and this becomes more evident with the problems of the new universities. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.