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Once upon a time, students who were willing and able to work hard could obtain an affordable, high-quality education at a public university. Those times are gone. Intensified admissions competition coupled with opposition to public spending has scorched every campus. Budget cuts, tuition hikes, and debt burdens are undermining the best path to upward mobility that this country ever built.But despite all of this, Americans still embrace ideals of equal opportunity and know that higher education represents a public good. Students, faculty, staff, and advocates are beginning to build political coalitions and develop new strategies to improve access, enhance quality, and simplify financial aid. This book celebrates and will fortify their efforts. In Saving State U, economist Nancy Folbre brings the national debates of education experts down to the level of trying to teach—and trying to learn—at major state universities whose budgets have repeatedly been slashed, restored, and then slashed again. Here is a brilliant firsthand account of the stakes involved, the politics, and the key debates raging through public campuses today. In a passionate, accessible voice, Folbre also offers a sobering vision of the many possible futures of public higher education and their links to the fate of our democracy while looking at the practical ways in which change is now possible.

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