Total student loan debt in 2021 is 1.7 trillion dollars. SOURCE
The Bennett hypothesis
In 1987, U.S. Education Secretary Bill Bennett theorized that increases in federal student aid would cause an increase in college tuition. Some have called this hypothesis bunk but others believe wholeheartedly in it. The general idea is that if the government backs student loans and guarantees that the student absolutely has to pay it back then of course colleges and universities would raise the price to attend school. What would you do if you were a lender of any kind and you knew that once your borrowers took money from you they absolutely had to pay it back one day? The answer is you would increase the amount of money that you let people borrow. Which would you rather have, a person that owes you a guaranteed $5K or a person that owes you a guaranteed $50K? The answer is obvious. You want people to owe more. It's a bit different with schools because they get their money up front and the student just spends a lifetime repaying the loan. Either way, the school wants more money spent on their courses to line their own pockets. Do not be gullible or naive.
Student loan debt is all but impossible to discharge in bankruptcy proceedings SOURCE. In other words, you are stuck with student loan debt until you pay it off if you ever do. The conditions needed to discharge student debt in bankruptcy are highly unlikely to be true in the average person's situation so most won't qualify.
In 2005, a legislative act known as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act made several changes to the United States bankruptcy code including the ability to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.
It takes the average student loan borrower 21 years to completely pay off student loan debt SOURCE. If you graduate at 22 you're looking at a payoff age of around 43 years old. Half your life is over and now you can finally be free of your debt. What an efficient education system we have(sarcasm).
The 1 million dollar myth
There is a pervasive myth that exists about college which states that college graduates make on average 1 million dollars more in their lifetime than non-college graduates. Let's break that down:
Watch: The million dollar myth
Read: The Million Dollar Myth
Read: The Great College Hoax
Student loan debt forgiveness
At the time of writing this passage (2021) one of the biggest buzz topics on social media and news outlets is student loan debt forgiveness. You are told your whole life that even if you take out student loans to pay for college it will be ok because you'll get a well-paying job that can easily pay off the debt. If that was the case then why would millions of Americans be advocating for student loan debt forgiveness?