Read this article by Susan Dynarski. Here's an excerpt:
Politicians who complain about college costs frequently cite two numbers: one trillion and seven million. Student borrowers owe more than $1 trillion, and seven million borrowers are in default, according to the latest Department of Education data. * * * In many people’s minds, the so-called student-debt crisis revolves around graduates of selective colleges or graduate programs who run up six figures in debt. But such borrowers aren’t the real source of trouble. The vast majority of bachelor’s degree recipients do very well. Only 2 percent of undergraduates borrow more than $50,000, and they also aren’t the ones who tend to have problems with their debt. The unemployment rate for four-year college graduates is currently 2.6 percent, and the typical household headed by a college graduate earns $58,000 more per year more than the typical household headed by a high school graduate. Defaults are concentrated among the millions of students who drop out without a degree, and they tend to have smaller debts. That is where the serious problem with student debt is. Students who attended a two- or four-year college without earning a degree are struggling to find well-paying work to pay off the debt they accumulated.