Today I met a senior med student(heading off to do radiology in another program in the southeast) who will graduate with $378k in debt(small amount of undergrad debt, 90%+ med school debt). And she did recieve a small amount of help from parents too! She is out of state(so pays insane tuition rather than just really expensive tuition instate), but still. This is something I have heard again and again across the country. This is sort of an extreme example(because out of state tuition at some state med schools is even higher than most private schools), but it's not that extreme. Many private med schools now have tuition alone of 40k(and with mandatory fees, tests, etc the real tutition is more like 45k)....x 4 years + a small amount to live on, and you can see that(even before interest) 260k is not out of the ordinary for just med school alone. The reality is that since it is fairly difficult for people in her field to moonlight during residency and the interest rate on those loans is mostly 6.8%, she will owe something like 500k before finishing her residency....maybe 550k or so if she does a fellowship. That's ridiculous.
The fact is that colleges, grad schools, professional schools, etc are not controlling their costs. It is too expensive. When I started college in the late 90s, tuition(even for people with NO scholarships at all) was maybe 2000 dollars per semester for a full load of classes. 4000 for the whole year...again with NO scholarship money at all. Now it's over triple that at the same place. Costs shouldn't have risen 300% in that time period.
Same for med school....that was not that long ago so I borrowed a lot of money(even going to the large state school which was one of the cheapest in the whole country), but not close to what people are borrowing now...and that not many years ago! I watched as year by year my tuition and fees spiraled up....one year the increase was 9%. 9%???? It's the same all across the country too.....I'm just it's the same for law schools, pharmacy schools, business schools....when will the insanity stop?