Over the last generation, state governments have undertaken a major disinvestment in higher education. The questions raised by these funding reductions go beyond matters of crowded classrooms, dilapidated facilities, and altered pedagogies to challenge the basic function of college and university education in the United States. Will higher education continue to be the gateway to equality and provider of broad horizons for citizens, or will it be transformed into a bulwark of social privilege and narrow conveyor of vocational skills for private consumers? These are the ultimate questions posed by the funding priorities of the state legislatures in America today.

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