As a person who moved 1,000 miles to attend college the first time around, in 2001, because it was free... I think this is a great plan! I've lived in 7 or 8 states and it's worked out well for me.
Obviously I realize not everybody can up and move. The OP may have aging parents she is caring for, or an ex-spouse that she shares custody with, or a whole host of reasons to stay in California. But for those who CAN move to pursue better opportunities, well, that's generally a great idea!
And on the idea of the debt: People do it. People survive it. However, I am extremely gun-shy on this issue. My husband went to a top-ranked law school, to the tune of $200,000. HE landed an amazing job and paid it off easily. He was one of a tiny handful who did. It was 2008, the economy tanked right as they graduated, and many, many of his classmates either didn't find jobs at all, or took public service jobs earning $50,000 a year.