Ask many college presidents why tuition costs keep rising and you'll hear a litany of excuses: We have to pay superstar profs. Build comfortable facilities to attract hedonistic students. Keep up a sprawling, aging infrastructure. Offer more scholarships to low-income students. Meet federal and state mandates.
Ask those presidents if it's possible to freeze tuition and you'll likely get blank stares, followed by vigorous head shakes ... and more reasons why the higher education industry is a helpless victim of ever-higher expenses.
Which marks Mitch Daniels, once again, as an iconoclast. In 19 months as president of Purdue University, the former Indiana governor has frozen base tuition after 36 straight years of increases. The freeze lasts at least through the 2015-16 academic year.