As state legislatures cut back support for higher education, public colleges and universities across the country are turning to their alumni, hat in hand, as never before–hiring consultants, hunting down graduates and mobilizing student phone banks to raise private money in amounts they once thought impossible, the New York Times reports. But many find themselves arriving late to the game, particularly in the Northeast, where state governments have traditionally been generous and a host of private colleges have dominated the quest for donations…

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