They’re too damn high and brutally hard to get rid of, on the average; and they’re largely that way because the colleges don’t actually have any skin in the game. I think that it was Glenn Reynolds who suggested that one answer would be to allow student loans to be discharged by bankruptcy again – and to put the schools that facilitated the debt on the hook for ten percent of the liability. Even if that’s just going forward (IANAL, but I think doing otherwise runs you into ex post facto territory), you’d still be amazed at how fast colleges get spiraling costs under control.
See? I’m not totally heartless. Or, at least, I can direct my heartlessness at Big Academia, which is frankly in need for a little laudable public humiliation and shaming.