Whatever happened to the state part of state universities? It’s getting increasingly difficult for families to find good deals on higher education, even when they concentrate on state schools.

According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times, state support for state universities is now pretty low. As she writes:

According to the Delta Cost Project, most of the nation’s public research universities had more than half their costs paid by tuition in 2008, and other four-year public institutions were hovering near the 50 percent mark. With three more years of tuition increases, they, too, have probably passed it, said Jane V. Wellman, executive director of the project, leaving only community colleges as mostly state-financed.

some education policy experts… acknowledge that a fundamental reordering is under way — and that the era of affordable four-year public universities… may be over.

Funding levels rise and fall, of course. This is true of all programs and all states But what’s been going on in public higher education has lasted longer than the current recession. There’s no reason to think the state money will be coming back when the economy gets better.

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer