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An Era of Neglect

The story of public higher education’s transition from a key national priority to an increasingly neglected special interest is untidy. It cannot be traced to any single moment in time. It cannot be laid at the feet of any one individual or ideology. Rather, it is the story of dozens and dozens of consequential moves made by individual actors across the country. They are lobbyists and activists, antitax conservatives and big-government liberals, conflicted idealists and self-preservationists. Even college leaders themselves.