State colleges and universities, battered by declining endowments and state funding cutbacks, are facing a new and potentially far more troubling financial challenge. Out-of-state students, who pay a huge tuition premium to attend, are doing something no one ever thought they would: They’re staying home.

Hammered by the recession, they’re opting in larger numbers to attend schools in their home states. In a recent study conducted by the College Board and Art & Science Group, a consultant to colleges and universities, 41 percent of high school seniors said they are giving much more consideration to attending a public institutions close to home in the fall because of current economic conditions.

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