Public colleges and universities are grappling with diminishing resources, largely because of significant declines in state funding over the years.

The average state is now spending 20 percent less per student than it did at the start of the recession in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research organization. Some public higher education systems are experiencing much deeper cuts.

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With cuts of more than 20 percent per full-time equivalent (FTE) student, state support for public higher education is below its 2008 level in 46 states. Public research universities, in particular, have been hit still harder. Between 2008 and 2013, state-appropriation support declined by more than 26 percent in the median public research university. 

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The president of the University of Iowa said Thursday that he was "this close" to turning toward political action committees to ensure that the Iowa Legislature gets filled with lawmakers who understand the value of the public research university to the state’s economy and future.

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