Its time for a new type of university
Universities have become driven by profit, not driven by the will to offer the best education. I'm sure the founders of the universities had a different thought than profit when they founded their university many years ago. For example, in Ireland, 180 people in higher education earn more than €150,000, of which half earn over €200,000. So, what can be done to change this?
In my opinion, Universities have become outdated. While I have been studying engineering at UCD, I found that the lecturers were terrible. Very hard to listen to someone who reading off slides word for word and expects you to write it all down and listen to him simultaneously (its also a lot quicker to read than write). When I went home I found tutorial videos online which explain the whole lecture in less than 10 minutes. I don't believe my tuition fees should pay for lecturers that cant/wont teach.
Since there is a vast amount of information readily available from home, why pay for a campus, or lecturers at all? All the people require to do all the studying at home is a laptop, Internet connection, dates for exams and maybe labs(depending on the subject). So, one could slash the cost of getting a degree by publishing a list of topics one has to cover for a subject, and give them dates for exams and labs. All one needs is a hall for the exams, and a few supervisors. For the labs, one could use university campuses in the holidays, while they are closed, until a university without lecture halls is opened. One could set 4 dates for exams each year, and hold multiple labs every year. So, one could progress at his own rate, and sit the exams when one feels ready. You could even finish in a shorter time than a conventional university, which will appeal more to some.
Since the costs for this university would be down tremendously, free higher education would finally be viable.