For bargain-hunting families, state colleges and universities, supported by tax money, have long been a haven from the high cost of private education. But tuition bargains are fading as the nation’s public universities undergo a profound shift, accelerated by the recession. In most states, it is now tuition payments, not state appropriations, that cover most of the budget, the New York Times reports. The shift has been an unwelcome surprise to Ashley Murphy, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. When she and her twin sister, Allison, picked their colleges two years ago, costs were definitely an issue, since they are putting themselves through college…

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