John Oliver spent a good portion of his “Last Week Tonight” show Sunday night examining the growing issue of student debt in America — which he likens to an STD.
“Essentially, student debt is like HPV. If you go to college, you’re almost certainly going to get it. And if you do, it will follow you for the rest of your life,” Oliver told viewers. He noted that seven out of 10 students graduating last year left college in debt, and that the total amount owed from student loans is more than $US1 trillion.
There are about 40 million Americans who currently hold student loan debt. According to The Washington Post, for college students graduating in 2012, “The average debt of $US29,400 was up from $US23,450 in 2008, indicating that for many students, public and private grants are not keeping pace with rising tuition.”
There are a number of reasons for this massive debt — not least of which is that states have slashed public college budgets, leading to higher tuition and less spaces for students. Another major issue that Oliver addresses is for-profit colleges, which house only 13% of American college students, but account for almost a third of all student debt.
Here’s the full “Last Week Tonight” segment on student debt below:
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