Ask liberals why college is getting so expensive, and they’ll probably tell you it’s a case of government neglect. States have cut education funding. Federal Pell Grants for low-income students haven’t kept up with the cost of tuition. Regulators have failed to crack down on predatory for-profit schools that charge high prices for sometimes worthless degrees.
Ask conservatives the same question, and they’ll tell you the opposite. The real problem, they’ll say, is a pernicious case of government coddling. The unlimited supply of federal student loans has allowed schools to hike their prices to stratospheric heights without driving away undergrads. Feds have smothered low-cost competition by turning higher education into one big highly protected “cartel,” as Utah Sen. Mike Lee put it in an essay for The Federalist.