Giving Compass' Take:

• Education Dive reports on the rising cost of higher education in the U.S., pointing to one possible solution that NYU's School of Medicine is trying out: free tuition.

• With the current trends looking grim for college prices, more drastic action may be needed. What can donors in the education space do to explore innovative financing ideas?

• Here's another benefit to free medical school tuition: It can diversify the profession.

Is New York University School of Medicine's announcement of free tuition the beginning of an inevitable evolution toward free public higher education in the U.S.?

Since the 1960s, college enrollment has steadily increased until it peaked in 2011 at 20.6 million students. Over the next six years there has been a steady decrease in enrollment, down to 18.8 million in the fall of 2017, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. This period has been marked by a series of institutional failures, and the creditworthiness of institutions of higher education has been downgraded by Moody's.

Over the 56 years the Higher Education Price Index has been computed by Commonfund, it has outpaced the Consumer Price Index by about 160% and has maintained that pace over the past six years with 2017 showing the largest one-year increase since 2008. One result has been an unsustainable corresponding growth in the size of student loan debt.

In partial response, curriculums have been adjusted to be more practical and job-centered, increased focus has been given to student recruitment and retention, and colleges and universities are even competing for transfer students.

While strategic planning is certainly required, it alone will not be sufficient if the six-year graph is capturing an inflection point that is the beginning of a long-term trend.

Read the full article about free tuition at public colleges by LaSonya Moore and Edward Renner at Education Dive.