College is a socially expected consumption good, but still, what we’re seeing now is the real reason exposed when all the secondary reasons (Earn a paycheck! Join the world of 9-5 office work!) have evaporated. Most people go to college for personal fulfillment — to achieve all kinds of ends way high up on Maslow’s hierarchy. The rest is secondary.
If you can achieve those ends via cheap, subsidized public loans, then that’s just all kinds of win for you. And if you can get the public to write off those loans — because hey, we’re sticking it to the 1%! — well, Jesus Christ. Maybe you did learn something in college after all.
For the longest time I’ve taken issue with college as a means to a career/job. This mindset–that everyone must attend–has driven up costs, and put universities in the position of competing for students by providing needlessly extravagant services and facilities. Thus, driving up costs…ad infinitum.