We can find data that compares our country to others when it comes to student debt. That's because in most countries higher education is free. In fact, higher education once was virtually free here as well. After WWII, the GI Bill of Rights paid for more than 3 million veterans to return to school, tuition free. The bill also provided stipends for living costs as well. California and then New York also developed tuition-free state wide university systems. However, as runaway inequality set in, state and federal support for higher education did not keep up with tuition costs. The breach was filled by Wall Street, which profits mightily from the trillion dollar student debt market.
Our vision is so crippled by rising inequality that we consider student debt as a normal part of life. While Germany removes the few remaining tuition fees from its universities, our debate is limited to the level of student loan interest rates and caps that limit repayment to a certain percentage of future student incomes. Free higher education at public institutions is considered off the charts, outside the bounds of reasonable discussion, something raised only by unrealistic radicals. Even Elizabeth Warren won't go there. Meanwhile student debt continues to pile up with no end in sight.