Four-year public universities in the United States may face increased competition with community colleges and private universities in the wake of the economic downturn, a report says.

The report, by Standard & Poor’s, found that the public university sector is improving, albeit sluggishly, after severe cuts in state budgets and heavy investment losses. Released recently, the annual report forecasts a positive longer term, while acknowledging that the immediate future for public universities remains “uneven.”

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