When California college students return to campus this fall, they'll find crowded classrooms, less access to faculty and counselors, fewer technology-related perks and other campus services, and more difficulty getting classes they need to graduate--all while paying higher fees.

The state's financial crisis is battering its world-renowned system of higher education, reducing college opportunities for residents and threatening California's economic recovery.

Faced with steep declines in tax revenue, states are reducing funding to public colleges and universities across the country. That could hamper the nation's rebound from a deep recession and undermine President Barack Obama's goal of making the United States the...

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