There's a lot of places you can point fingers. But as a whole it is unsustainable system that is continually propped up because there are enough people to blame that the continual finger pointing allows the crisis to continue. Now that its essentially become a political party talking point, I feel like it will become even more polarizing and ultimately never fixed.
Universities who create "luxury" college experiences for students that ultimately must be paid for are to blame.
Lending bodies who loan kids more than they'll make pretax in the first 5-10 years of employment (providing they don't actually get a job at Starbucks) are to blame.
Students and parents for not saying "do you know the impacts of you decisions" when you spend tens of thousands a year on a degree with no marketable use in the career marketplace are to blame.
Those who wish to make it a party line issue by saying "vaporize all student loan debt and make college free" or "your decision, your debt" are to blame.
Its my personal opinion that Universities, since they feel they MUST continue on with the current University experience status quo, need to share in the financial risk they're asking their students to take on. They should be cosigned on all the loans they're telling students are sure bets to take out... even the Masters in Women Studies degrees that lead to the student graduating and folding clothes at the Gap.
If the University shares in the debt risk, maybe they'll focus as much on getting students jobs as they do in educating and graduating them. I'm personally shocked by how much programs don't really care about your post graduation experience. With the exception of a few departments in the business school, how many departments really focus on partnering with local employers to make sure a majority of their students can graduate right into an opportunity that allow them to pay back on these student loans?
In regards to constant focus on distance online learning... Many of these programs seem to have little cost benefit other than no dorms, no meal plan, no parking pass, etc over the on campus in classroom experience. And these programs appear to have even LESS focus on getting students the next/first job after. They look to be degree mills and don't even try to convince you otherwise. I'm sure UNT makes lots of dollars on this at a lower cost than in classroom degrees, but they're watering down their own brands. All of us out here hiring now have selective questions to try to figure out if the degrees people are putting on their resume are in-classroom degrees, which help students learn, function, and work as a group like we do in the real-world workplace... or online degrees, which are remote video lectures and computer proctored exams that only assure me you're able to learn from videos and are good at taking exams.
Mitch Daniels at Purdue is doing a great job shaking up the status quo on University Loans... I think their "Back a Boiler" program could be an interesting blueprint for how to realistically move forward towards more responsible funding of student's tuition: https://www.purdue.edu/backaboiler/index.php
Thanks for attending my TEDgmg talk! 🦅