State expenditures on public higher education are increasingly viewed as a social investment that is necessary to sustain economic growth in a postindustrial economy. However, an analysis of comparative data indicates that state support for such education was below national averages during the 1980s and, when compared to its major competitor states, Massachusetts ranks poorly in support for these institutions. This article concludes that unless state support is increased over the next decade, Massachusetts will risk losing its competitive economic position, while educational administrators will be forced to choose between access or quality in public higher education.



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