Washington State is pushing college tuition up as part of the budget cutting stage of the Great Recession. This is exactly the wrong way to go, but it is driven generally by free market forces, forces for deregulation, bubble economy speculators who understand that the current flattened tax table provides the opportunity of a lifetime to take huge risks, may big profits fast, and hope that they are able to find a chair when the music stops playing in each round of the economic game.
Trying to imagine a culture built around something other than capitalism is very difficult for folks who live in the industrialized world. Free market capitalism, globalism is like water to fish for us. We swim in every waking minute and we sleep and dream free market dreams. There is another way. The regulated capitalism that was in vogue post WWII was less unstable, more conducive to healthy community (healthy communities provide or flirt with the idea of education, health care as a right), but Mr. Reagan really led the revolution that created the current world capitalist economy and we are deeply mired in the muck of speculative economics today.
Here is a community that took another path. The Barefoot College was established back in 1972 by Bunker Roy. Thanks to my friend, Pat Rasmussen, for passing along a link about this group.
Here is a link to a CNN video that has higher production values if that is important and if you want to sit through 15 seconds of advertising to get to the video.