As with the mortgage fiasco, let the buyer beware! Do we have a huge population of the teenagers you describe who have no parents to guide their financial decisions, or are there just too many people who will sign for any amount of debt because there is "pie in the sky"? Those indentured servants of whom you speak have had ample opportunity to opt out of said servitude, if they so chose. As a person who went to college "back in the day", I'm appalled by today's high tuition rates. When I was in college, most could pay as they went. I don't recall any conversations about student loans. I'm REALLY old, am I not?!