“For the better part of the last decade,” writes Travis Reindl over at Higher Ed Watch, “the higher education community has debated the question of whether public colleges and universities are on the path to privatization.”

It’s a question that is growing more heated because of our current predicament:

The current state fiscal meltdown, which has prompted steep funding cuts and tuition hikes for higher education, has breathed new life into the issue of privatization. College presidents, researchers, and even campus newspapers are pondering whether the current fiscal slump is severe enough to force a revisiting of the state-campus relationship. The old joke among college presidents about their institutions moving from state supported to state molested is enjoying a comeback on the conference circuit.

Reindl goes on to make a convincing case on two fronts: why we are not as close to privatization as some folks (and misleading statistics) would have us believe, and why it is absolutely vital that privatization never occur. His post is worth a read.

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Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.