Claire Potter, in a Times op-ed on rethinking U.S. higher ed for the post-pandemic era:
So what must change? To start, public colleges and universities should be truly public and tuition-free; private ones, a crucial and longstanding resource, should be discounted by the cost of a public education. Federal loans should be generous, interest-free and forgivable, perhaps in exchange for national service. To paraphrase my late friend, the historian Jesse Lemisch, we need a federal New Deal for higher education, supported by tax dollars, that breaks the stranglehold tuition has on American families.
Potter, like Simon Torracinta and Corey Robin, has the crucial point that our current system is anything but natural—the result, instead, of a series of regressive choices over the last fifty years, reversible given the political will.