A few years ago, several big-name colleges (MIT was a leader in this) began putting their courses online, where anyone would be able to 'take' them for free. Now, you won't be able to get a free degree or even credit for the course, but for self-education, perhaps a course that can help you with your job or just something that you've always wanted to take but did not have the time or money to pursue, well, you can likely find it for free.
Take a look at Coursera, which is the latest, very popular site with numerous colleges adding courses to the list (including my alma mater, U. of Illinois). If you are interested in a particular school, you may want to check out what their courses look like. Some others that are out there include MIT's course site, and Oxford's courses. The future may be here, at least for many students, simply because the top schools may be pricing themselves out of many students' affordability range. How much longer will families take out massive amounts of loans (which = debt) for a college degree? It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out over the next few years, as more courses are offered online and more people take those courses.