A few decades ago, students in most places could go to a state university for next to nothing. We all know that's now ancient history. But less appreciated is how much public tuition costs have increased in just the past few years, amid an epic state budget crisis. The chart below shows the huge spike in costs.
What's especially ironic about such soaring costs is that college has gotten more expensive at the same time that it's become a greater prerequisite for economic success. Back in the 1960s, when you go could to UC Berkeley for a few hundred dollars a semester, you could also take your high school diploma to an aerospace plant and get a job paying middle class wages. Now those jobs are gone, along with dirt cheap tuition costs at the University of California.