I agree with you about the college cost bubble. IIRC, we both graduated in three years of cheap in-state tuition.
But you seem to be missing the demand side. Students want luxury dorms. I remember when we had phones in the hall that only called campus numbers. Students want trips abroad. They want the five-year college experience with easy majors. And they want athletics.
Much of the inflation comes from administrative salaries, including fundraising and all these new customized extras. I guess students are rich and lazy. Seriously, in 1960, students attended class around 15 hours per week and studied around 25. Now they study (or do homework) around 12 hours. It's like high school or an executive education conference where you just show up and get baby-sat/entertained.
Enjoy your trip out west.
Agent in the Field #47