[caption id="attachment_50267" align="alignleft" width="150"] States provided 38 percent of universities' funding in the 1980s and 90s.[/caption]

They're the pride and backbone of American higher education, doing essential research and educating en masse the next generations of scientists and engineers. But a new report argues the mission of the country's 101 major public research universities is imperiled by budget cuts amounting to one-fifth of their state funding over the past decade.

State support for public research universities fell 20 percent between 2002 and 2010, after accounting for inflation and increased enrollment of about 320,000...

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