This is the wrong approach. Writing in The Atlantic, Jordan Weissmann notes Department of Education data showing that undergraduate tuition at public colleges for the entire United States was under $63 billion.
That sounds like a lot of money but the Federal government spent $69 billion on Pell Grants, tax breaks and work study funding - and that's without another $107 billion in student loans being factored into government cost. Basically, if college was just made free, taxpayers could save money - and maybe even more, since those rather sketchy schools that advertise on TV all of the time would not be able to get Federal loan money.
Link: The Atlantic
For that much savings, we don't even need to cap salaries union-style, so the 18th lowest-paid researcher in just one department at a public college can still make $107,000 - while he sits in a foreign jail. And if we need to reduce costs further, we could pay higher education the same way we pay public school teachers - on a union scale. If there is one thing a lot of academics dislike, it is that terrible Republican capitalism and meritocracy they have to endure, right?