If our nation had the desire anyone who has the ability and motivation could earn a degree on the cheap. The federal government, which already supports the military academies, could easily establish a tuition free Virtual University by down loading to computers all the courses and the books for students of all ages who can't afford to attend a college that charges tuition. Work books, lectures on CDs, and tutorials built into the computers could also be made available. A number of residential colleges are dropping hundreds of courses, such as music and art. That's not necessary with a Virtual University. I can take piano and guitar lessons on my computer so it wouldn't be difficult to add courses traditional colleges are eliminating. Students wouldn't need to pay an application fee or take standardized tests for admission. If a bank can serve more than 25 million customers, the Virtual University could be designed to serve the needs of a few million students. (There are virtual law schools). The college drop out rate is estimated at 50 percent or more. The Virtual University could reduce that number by providing a flexible and extremely low cost education. Never in human history has so much education been made available for such a low cost--great libraries, the Internet, CDs, discounted books, cable television, and yet millions of students continue to rack up bone crushing debt that they will spend their life paying off. Others, fearing a life of financial servitude, simply forgo an education. I wish all this technology was available when I was a student...In the old days our forefathers learned to do things for themselves, including getting an education. Today millions of people, including college graduates, can't even manage their money or make a decision without asking for help because they aren't encouraged to be independent thinkers. The classroom encourages them to conform; to rely on others for the "right" answer. By encouraging students to take charge of their own education it would also be a major step in encouraging them to take charge of their own life, to be independent thinkers without relying on the so called "experts" for advice. A good way to do this is with a federal Virtual University. And finally, because of advances in technology we should be spending less money on education on all levels rather than more money.