A new poll shows that college-age Americans are wildly, overwhelmingly worried about student loan debt. As well they should be. And they blame colleges. As well they should.
The poll, an annual effort from the Harvard Institute of Politics, is being billed as showing the views of "Millennials." Technically, it does, but we'd rather not bill it that way, because the world "millennials" conjures up so many negative stereotypes that everyone will dismiss them as a bunch of whiny brats, when—on this particular issue—they actually have a valid point, and valid expertise. (The poll also includes many findings about millennials' attitudes towards politics, and Obamacare, and how to reduce the deficit. Who gives a shit what millennials think about those things? They don't know shit. Student debt, however, they are well acquainted with.)
-58% of college grads say they have student debt.
-57% of those surveyed view student debt as a "major problem."
-70% say that their financial circumstances played an "important" role in their decision about whether or not to attend college. For community college students, that number is 87%. And 52% of black people said finances played a "very important" role, vs. 38% of white people.
-The number one culprit for rising student debt, according to respondents: colleges and universities themselves. "Government" was a distant second.
In short, the vast majority of college kids have student debt, and are worried about it, and the situation is even worse for poorer people and minorities. And colleges themselves will reap the backlash, so they're going to have to be the ones to address the problem.