Two former college presidents try to set the record straight. Don't try to solve the wrong problems. From Money.
So, in brief:
Public tuition has risen mainly because state governments, hard pressed for funds, have not been able or willing to free enough money to keep up with rapidly expanding enrollments. Tuition charges have risen to make up the difference.
Meanwhile, there has been no increase over the last decade in the size of non-faculty staff, once you correct for those growing enrollments.
What’s more, the average “earnings premium,” the gap between the earnings of high school and college graduates, has never been higher than in recent years, and as bad as unemployment was for all groups during the Great Recession, it has always been roughly twice as high for people with no higher education than for those with BAs.
And, finally, most people who earn a BA borrow moderately. In fact, 40% of those earning degrees from public institutions don’t borrow for college at all. Especially with the federal government now providing a range of more flexible loan repayment options, the vast majority of four-year college graduates repay without excessive difficulty.