Have a serious look at how Oz does it for citizens.You're the resident Populist Liberal - what can we do to lower the disparity?
Competitive course entry.
Sliding scale of fees based on likely salary and course popularity e.g. stem / teaching etc are much cheaper than medical.
No up front fees. When you start earning money once you reach median wage you start paying the government back via a levy on your tax bill.
The more you earn, the faster you pay back. If you don't earn, you don't pay, and it isn't considered to be a personal debt.
The amount is not subject to simple or compound interest.
The government pays the educational institution direct.
This is how to obtain an educated workforce.
Strong interests in the US do NOT want an educated population.