That's a good point, and it makes his argument even more unsupportable. My experience was between 35 and 40 years ago.
I did get scholarships -- a $1000 one-time scholarship and $1500 a year for 4 years. With that and working part time during the year and full time in the summers, I finished a bachelor in physics with no debt. I wasn't living high on the hog, but I wasn't slumming it either. This was at the University of Colorado, so I wasn't getting a bargain basement education, but I also wasn't being extravagant.
I checked a few years ago, and there's no way I would have been able to do that with current prices. But 35 or 40 years ago? If he couldn't get a *good* education without going seriously into debt, he wasn't trying.