Many of the top public universities in the country could be affected by reductions in education spending, reports The Washington Post.
Record reductions in federal spending as a result of the economic crisis could threaten public universities. For example, state funding to the University of Virginia has been reduced from 26 to 7 percent in the past 20 years. The University of Michigan has reported similar cuts, with reductions from 48 percent of its operating budget to 17 percent during the same period.
At the University of California, Berkeley, cuts in federal funding have meant increases in tuition for students, larger class sizes and restrictions in some classroom equipment that could affect some students' college decisions. This year, the university received more funding from students than it did in state support.
"The issue that’s being addressed at Berkeley, fundamentally, is the future of the high-quality public university in America," Robert Reich, the former labor secretary and a public policy professor at Berkeley, told the newspaper.
Several of the Republican presidential candidates have made education reform and state funding a priority during their campaigns. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney recently told students that a vote for him meant job security after they graduate, according to ABC News.