Nancy Watzman is an investigative journalist and a Denver-based consultant to the Sunlight Foundation. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Nation, The New Republic, and Harper's Magazine.
Since 1980 the average tuition at four-year colleges (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has doubled. Median income for families, however, has not kept pace, increasing just 12 percent over the same period. Student loans help families fill the cash gap. And a powerful industry has grown up to handle the loan business.