The general problem is the push for everyone to go to college. Growing up in suburbia it was just assumed that everybody around me would go straight to college out of high school. At no point did anyone even mention any other option. This is further evidenced by k-12 schools dropping voc ed classes in higher and higher numbers (apparently being able to make and fix things by oneself is old hat).
Not everyone deserves to go to college, and certainly not everyone should be allowed to go to college. As colleges are now unarguably businesses first and educators second, however, everyone is sent through the system and steeped in America's favorite past time... debt. The college education is simply another milestone expected of every up-and-comer, and far from being "higher education" it has become a waste of time for most of the people involved.