I think my degree was a total waste of time.
Student loans are completely the devil.
I can't tell you how much I regret having taken one out, and for the Stupidest Degree Ever, to boot. I should never have gone to grad school to start with and should certainly not have gone into debt for it.
Starting out your adult life in the hole SUCKS. So many of us who take out student loans can only get really s***** jobs post college anyway, and somebody should have smacked us with some Reality before we got in over our heads.
I kind of think it is a good thing that it's becoming harder to get loans. I wish there was a commensurate rise in scholarships and grants, however.
Sometimes I wonder at the value of a college education, though. If you are like me, and you knew nothing going in, and you go to whatever school is close and offers you a good scholarship, you *might* not actually be getting the quality of education that will particularly boost the later quality of your life. Sure, I graduated with "Honors" and in the top 10% of my class, but it was from a third-tier middlewestern state college.
Then I took on a ridiculous MA from a foreign country. [i]That[/i] was a winner of an undertaking, of course.
Given where I am in my "career" at this point in my life (I'm working in a call center as a phone monkey for f***'s sake), I could have dropped out of high school and smoked pot for the past 15 years and been doing about as well.
I expect that my voracious library and internet habits pre and post college (okay, the Internet thing has only been post college) as well as my constitutional tendency to observe the world around me and my fellow man in it have stood me as well as my liberal education. It's the argument of educators that a liberal education isn't strictly for getting a career, but for broadening minds, but I'm on the edge of calling bullshit on that notion. Some of the most interesting, observant, and intelligent people in my life never completed highschool. Each of them is well read, can research things for himself, and can discuss all sorts of matters in depth. And I've known plenty of people who are educated to the gills who rarely have a single original or interesting thought to share.
Unless you really have a skill or a talent to hone, I don't know that a pricey formal education is the way to go about it. I think people who are sufficiently intelligent and independent would be better served in saving their money and pursuing a course of autodidacticism.