It's easy to say "grow up" when the biggest loan you had to take out was for a motorcycle. An education in the US can cost 10s-100s of thousands of dollars not including living expenses. Couple this with low earnings coming out of college and interest rates that capitalize (interest is added to principle) which occurs during forbearance, deferment, or even while you're still in school. For the vast majority of people, repayment is not so simple when the average wage for a US employee is $45,327 as of 2012 according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. This doesn't take into account the costs of living, healthcare, health insurance, transportation, or god-forbid entertainment.
Yes, tuition in the U.S. can cost 100s of thousands of dollars, but it need not.
If you're borrowing "100s of thousands of dollars" to earn a degree to qualify you for a job earning $45,327, you're doing it wrong.
There are two things people keep teaching their children about college (by their words or actions) that are flat-out wrong:
1. Always go to whichever college you want, no matter the cost. Any degree is guaranteed to be worth any price paid.
2. In college, always pursue your dreams. It doesn't matter what you can get paid for it, because then you'll be a well-rounded individual and society will value you.
We are seriously short-changing our children by not teaching basic financial skills like loan repayment, ROI, and critical thinking about this while they are in high school. Signing up an 18 year old for $100k worth of student loans without requiring some sort of competency exam seems borderline criminal, to me.