I don't understand why people think that all colleges have to cost the same. People have a choice. If they want to go to a school where they have to go into debt, it is their prerogative, but they sure as hell have to pay for it. If they want one that wont cost them money (or as much money) thats fine. For example, I had lots of scholarship options to upper tier undergrad universities, could have attended an ivy (and paid through the nose) but I chose to stay in state, and go to a college where they paid my tuition, books and then wrote me a check for $11,000 every year. The scholarship was only slightly more than 20k/year, but it was still much more cost efficient than going to the other schools offering me 25-40k a year (because their tuition was stupid high). You never have to pay that much money for school.
Actually, some people do. Take me for example -- I've been forced to move twice since my husband is in the military. Not being a resident in any state I live in, or having any contacts at a new university really cuts down your chances at getting specific types of scholarships. It eliminates me attending universities that award scholarships for graduating in-state, or for being a student for multiple years, etc. It also means I lose credits with each move and subsequent transfer. It means my previous grades mean shit-all. I tried getting the military spousal assistance for tuition, you know what they told me? No. Because I wanted a bachelor degree. Like how dare I actually wanna get a four year degree?
I had a scholarship in the town I graduated in for freshmen year. But see, my dumbshit parents planned for my eldest sister (and no one else) to go to college. But she dropped out. And my scholarship, for my banging SAT score only covered half my tuition cost, that's in-state, by the way, at a low level shit university. The rest, I paid for by working full-time at Walmart, while doing chemo and school full-time. I didn't get a dime of government assistance because my parents "made too much" (even though they were, at that time, on the lower end of middle class).
When I moved to Alaska, it was great. I managed to get three years of my degree done with only 12k of debt. I didn't get scholarships because well, there aren't really many unless you're native or you graduated in-state. But then we got relocated to VA. Now my tuition is 3x what it was in Alaska at a public, state funded university (not one of the good ones either). My new university is 40 minutes away (that was the closest one with the program I needed) and it's 4 thousand+ for 12 credits of lower-level courses. And because we're just barely over the line to qualify for Pell Grants, I may not be able to finish school. I sure as fuck can't work. I just had brain surgery. Even if I could, it would be damn hard to find a job with a wage to afford 4k per semester.
I'm not saying it should be free. But it should not be this goddamn hard. There are circumstances, believe it or not, that make getting scholarships very challenging or that make school very inaccessible. And the government is making fucking bank off my desperation and the desperation of people like me, who just want so dearly to change their lives, or fulfill themselves through their passions (mine happens to be science, I feel bad for you artists and musicians out there).