This whole Seattle Times article from yesterday is worth reading, but this part stuck out at me:
If tuition and fees had risen at the same pace as inflation over the past 30 years, today it would cost $9,900 annually to attend a private college, $2,300 to attend a public. Instead, the average tuition bill is $25,000 and $6,600 respectively, according to the College Board. Even adjusting for inflation, what you paid for a full year’s tuition in 1978 will barely buy you an academic quarter today.
The articles does a good job trying to explain why this is the case, so check it out.