College costs – real costs, in constant dollars – are about 2.5 times higher than they were were in 1965. And a higher fraction of those costs are dumped on the students, which means that it’s easy to graduate with a buttload of debt, which is particularly serious if your degree is not economically valuable, which is all too common. Since a high fraction of even those degrees that do get you hired are still useless, in terms of increasing factor productivity, this is a big burden on society as a whole.
If, as a pilot program, an example, the government set up a new university, mindlessly copying a decent state school from that golden era, like Berkeley or Wisconsin (or maybe from a bit earlier, since we probably want to avoid riots too), I doubt if it would cost a lot more. All those extra administrative personnel? Just don’t hire them. We could manage this by making the project top secret (actually, special access) – that lets you violate a lot of the useless bureaucratic rules, rather like being Uber.
Some things might cost more. If you want a medical school, you have to pay the professors competitive salaries (and MDs make much more than they did back in those days). But then, we could used taped lectures, online courses, etc.
It probably wouldn’t work for long, since politicians would be irresistibly temped to add on useless crap, like preferential admission for Skoptys, or whatever they’re called nowadays.