Santa Monica College is trying something new: a two-tiered pricing system separating its most popular courses from all the others. The community college is charging a premium for classes with the highest demand, pricing them at $180 per credit hour rather than the usual $36, the New York Times reports.Predictably, this has a number of people upset, especially because it makes the most desirable courses less accessible to poor students. Yet the increasingly dire financial situation has left the school with few options.Economic forces are inexorably driving more and more experiments like these in higher education. Some of these new programs will be good; some will be bad. But out of all this, something more efficient will emerge: more choices for students, at more reasonable prices. Santa Monica College may or may not have the right answer, but trying out new ideas like this one is how schools will keep themselves relevant in a post-blue world.That said, Via Meadia sees how pricing programs like Santa Monica’s, even if they turn out to be good ideas in some ways, might be bad news in other ways—especially for humanities programs. The current university model is full of cross subsidies: Business schools support English departments, medical programs subsidize arts programs, and so on. Schemes like Santa Monica’s will put pressure on each educational “tub” to stand on its own bottom.This will challenge the classic concept of the university, but that challenge is beginning to look inevitable. America’s current educational model conflates two different things: training and education. The difference between them can be fuzzy, but they are not identical. Training needs to be much cheaper, more convenient and more widely available. Education is important, but will have to be provided in new and less costly ways.