Obviously college tuition is rising, even faster than health care costs. But, like health care, you can't fix the problem without addressing the root causes. And the reason tuition is rising is the same reason housing prices blew up in the 2000s or tech stock valuations went through the roof in the late 90s. There is too much money being supplied too cheaply because the federal gov't guarantees the loans.
What incentive does a university have to reign in costs if they have no threat to enrollment since people have guaranteed access to funds? If colleges had to worry about whether or not students could afford the tuition, they might have a reason to control it. But since they have an unlimited source of buyers and an equally unlimited source of funding, they can make unreasonable increases in the cost of their goods (see the housing market circa 2005).
To me, this is one of the more irresponsible ideas of OWS. To think that wiping out student debt would be good for the economy or that it would somehow be just to nullify contracts that willing participants voluntarily engaged in represents a failing in their understanding of basic economic principles. Like much of OWS, I understand the frustration, but not their solutions.
As nab points out, free college only diminishes the value of that education and is inherently unstable. It also (like a certain health care law) does little to address the root cause of why tuition increases have been so steep. If anything, the cost of college would explode even faster, making the collapse of the scheme even more inevitable.
IMO, of course.