Until now, the federal government's response to rising college costs has been to spend more on grants, loans and tuition tax breaks.
But that is increasingly expensive and does little to assure that taxpayers' and students' (increasingly borrowed) money is well spent.
So President Barack Obama is on the hunt for alternatives. "Families and taxpayers can't just keep paying more and more into an undisciplined system," he said Wednesday at Knox College in Illinois. "We've got to get more out of what we pay for."