ONCE upon a time in America, baby boomers paid for college with the money they made from their summer jobs. Then, over the course of the next few decades, public funding for higher education was slashed. These radical cuts forced universities to raise tuition year after year, which in turn forced the millennial generation to take on crushing educational debt loads, and everyone lived unhappily ever after...Sir Machi at Daily Puma has been crusading on this issue (and other debt related matters such as mortgages and credit cards) for quite a while. Please have a look at his debt neutrality petition here.
I do believe that debt and its attendant stresses plays a role in many irrational events in today's United States.
The article does go on to stress that the real cost of college, which is something I've been harping on since at least 1980, is the explosion of managers and managerial salaries in higher ed. The rise of another pampered class has occurred along with a rise in titles. Department heads became assistant deans, deans became vice presidents until you finally arrive at such ludicrous titles as Executive Vice President for (insert job title that used to be done by a secretary [not administrative assistant] in her spare time.) All the titles "upgrades" were accompanied by increases in salaries for "increased duties and responsibilities." Most of the times the new titles meant a new administrative assistant or an upgrade in salary and title for the current helper, who was actually most often The Doer. The articles notes that the people who do the real work in education, the teachers, have had their salaries stagnant near 1970 levels.
The only solution to this problem is a change from the plantation/industrial model back to the Medieval (or hospital) model, wherein the managers and their salaries and perks are controlled by the teachers (Medieval) or are very, very heavily influenced by the teachers (medical/hospital) model.