A lot of good e-mail in response to this post. One reader writes:
When I worked at Carnegie Mellon U. about 25 years ago, it had a rather low tuition relative to its competitors, such as MIT and Stanford, and was considered a bargain. About that time, it was decided strategically that having higher tuition would be a good thing economically because that would allow it to capture more dollars in federal tuition aid. I know that this decision was made after lengthy consideration, weighing the projected results of such a change. (I was not part of that decision process, but was aware of it because of my proximity to upper management.)
This certainly confirms your position on this.