This Is What Happens When You Slash Funding for Public Universities (The Nation) -- After the economic crash of 2008, almost every state in the nation cut its higher-education budget. (The exceptions were oil-rich Alaska and North Dakota.) As the recession eased, most states started restoring some of that funding, though not to previous levels. According to a 2014 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, average per-student state spending is 23 percent lower than it was before 2008. Eight Republican-dominated states, however, have kept cutting. Among them, North Carolina. In North Carolina, the influential political donor Art Pope, a close associate of the Koch brothers, has led an ideological crusade against the state’s university system. As Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker, “In order to support the claims of political bias, the Pope organization has dug up the voter-registration records of professors and trustees.” The governor, in turn, has spoken out about universities being used to “indoctrinate” students, and the state government has closed academic centers on the environment, voter engagement, and work and poverty, all seen as left-leaning.