Yes, the federal government plays a role in rising college costs, because they allow it to happen. The federal government gives out loan after loan in order to keep students going to college. This is true even if the education will not lead to a better job for the candidate.
One thing about the Federal Government is that it has its hands into everything. Unfortunatly that is not always a good thing and one thing is the costs of college. College is very expensive these days, and with the federal government charging more on almost everything it impacts the cost of College and forcing it to charge more to insure it makes money.
It is hard to say with complete certainty, but I would not be surprised if the federal government had something to do with the rising college costs, however unlikely that may seem to some. They could be skimming off the top in order to fund themselves with better equipment and to provide their agents with better pay.
The federal government freely gives out money to any student who asks, leading to a huge surge in the number of attendants and how much free money is given out. The high amount of loans encourages the schools to raise prices to take advantage, while the lack of regulation on yearly tuition increases offers no checks or balances.