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.