Student debt is currently one of the major focal points in the larger conversation about the cost of college. To make college more accessible, students and their families have relied on loans to help finance their educations leading to what is now being described as the “student debt crisis”. At $1.5 trillion, student loan debt is now the second-largest source of consumer debt, behind home mortgages, surpassing credit card debt in the United States. The average bachelor’s degree graduate at one of Virginia’s four-year public institutions will walk away with approximately $30,000 in student loans. As startling as these number are, they do not tell the whole story of student loans or the student debt crisis.
Higher education is considered both a public and a private good and its cost is shared between the state, students, and their families, however there has been a consistent shift in funding, and students and families are now responsible for a larger portion of the cost.