My god, I actually summed up the courage to check my debt numbers.
$44,000 for an in-state public school that I attended with a 1550 (old numbers) SAT.
My parent's EFC was so low that I was even getting Pell Grants. Plenty of other grants as well.
Then my father passed away and my mom made bank on the life insurance, of which I never saw a penny. Yet the EFC that year went through the roof but the school was reasonable and only bumped up my loans moderately.
Then my mom went full-retard on me and decided she didn't need to send in her FAFSA info the next year. We don't talk much and I assumed she didn't need her hand held after 2 years of FAFSA. Since she usually sends her FAFSA in late after sending the schools a notice about it being late (she's a business owner and it takes her a while to get her financial info together) so it was typical for me to wait until summer to hear about aid.
Except that summer she never informed me that she decided not to do FAFSA at all. She had had a "conversation" with someone "knowledgeable about money" and it wasn't worth the effort to fill it out.
I went from maybe $10k cumulative loans from Freshman and Sophomore year, to $25,000+ in loans in Junior year alone. By the time she got her FAFSA in, it didn't make a difference. I had tripled my cumulative UG debt in one year. Senior year hasn't been kind to me either.
This is when I wish there was some level of "lock-in" aid besides scholarships. I had a 4-year grant dismantled by the state government one year in and replaced with a yearly grant that was shortly pulled the year after. Every other form of non-loan aid disappeared as well, leaving me holding the bag.
$44k for a cheap in-state tuition public school is just absurd.