A paltry $78,828 per year to get a degree in Simian Finger Painting Studies. That is around $10,000 more than the median household income in 2019. In other words a year of college at Duke is valued at more than what half of American households makes in total for a year. That is a lot of money for a couple of hours of classes and weekends getting blackout drunk and groping coeds. What is worse, the return on your investment is terrible in most cases. For every student who goes on to make a great living as an actuary or chemical engineer, there are dozens getting useless degrees in psychology or marine biology who will never recoup the cost of college and the years or decades of substandard earnings after they graduate.
What causes the massive inflation in college tuition? The easy availability of cheap money via government backed student loans. 18 year old kids with no income and no credit history can get nearly unlimited loans to pay for college without the slightest inkling of how they would repay those loans. That is not how real loans work, if you can't show that you have paid back loans in the past and have the means to pay a new one back, you don't get a loan (unless the government is backing your mortgage). But college kids can get whatever they want without any questions asked so the big prices differences in colleges are meaningless to them, meaning that colleges could raise tuition without limits and the government would keep backing loans to pay for it.