An article in today’s WSJ reports the average student graduates with $30,000 indebtedness. I'm surprised the debt is "only" $30,000. I got married before I finished college, so I had to "borrow" my senior year's tuition from my dad and pay it back, which I did. He was sort of old fashioned and figured once married I was a responsible adult, possibly my husband’s responsibility. Costs at a state university were about $1000/year, so let's say it was $4000 for 4 years in 1961. That's $31,250 in 2013 for inflation.
So why were so many people graduating then without debt? No student loans or grants, and very few scholarships would be my guess. The more money available, the higher the tuition and fees charged by academe.
1958 Father’s Day, University of Illinois at McKinley Hall (I still have that dress in my “archives.”)