The NYT has a symposium on the topic featuring Richard Vedder.
I especially like Alfonso Trujillo’s response:
Subsidizing top-tier universities in the hope of getting more underprivileged students to attend is tantamount to subsidizing top-tier department stores in the hope that some underprivileged consumers will be clothed. In the end, both results are predictable: higher prices, higher status for those who purchase the product, and an inefficient method of helping the poor.
If those who protest the University of California fee hikes are sincere in their concern for the education prospects of the poor, then why don’t they instead back a program that truly does help the poor: means-tested vouchers?
Subsidize the consumer! (If you subsidize at all.)