As I noted in earlier postings, colleges are like General Motors back in the 1990's. GM was stuck with a high-cost infrastructure, high overhead, huge pension liabilities, intransigent unions, and a product that was pretty crappy and no one wanted. Cheap gas kept the game going for a while, as people would buy the empty steel boxes that are SUVs and Pickup Trucks. But when the economy blipped for a moment, it all came unraveled.
So, to illustrate the point, NPR picks a "typical" student who got a Master's degree in Computer Engineering at Cornell and rang up a staggering $190,000 in student loan debt. They whine about paying $2000 a month in student loan payments and that "paying for a new tire" on their car "cleaned out their checking account". Must be a Maserati.
And the message is clear: What needs to be fixed is not the college that charges so much for an education, but the system that pays for this education. We need, as a country, to just throw money at colleges and hope they spend it wisely, because as their track record shows, they are quite capable of controlling costs and not letting them spiral out of control for no reason whatsoever.
UPDATE: Read this article about "luxury" college apartments. Many people graduate from college with a lot of debt, but in many cases, it is not necessary debt.