There is an article in today's (2/10/13) New York Times business section on the student loans and debt incurred in North Carolina and the ways people are surviving trying to pay for their school, go to school and work in their life.
This is an on-going problem in this country which hasn't been and isn't being addressed, but the article quotes Representative Virginia Foxx, who heads the North Carolina House subcommitte on higher education, "I spent seven years getting my undergraduate degree and didn't borrow a dime of money."
Ok, but Ms. Foxx, that was over 40 years ago and the times have changed, so the answer I would give is that your experience hasn't applied for the better part of the last 40 years and doesn't apply today. I can say that because of my experience.
When I was discharged from the USAF in January 1973, I attended American River Community College and then California State University, Sacramento, graduating in December 1975. I took the most number of classes I could in ARCC to minimize my time as CSUS and focus on my major.
During this time I worked fulltime, first at a gas station and then at the media center at CSUS. I didn't need to take out loans for my tuition and books because the cost was low, CSUS was $100 per semester (really) and I was on the GI Bill.
When I decided to go to graduate school at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, I took out a loan for $2,000. I worked part-time and used up the rest of my GI Bill to get all the credits to graduate short of the thesis which collasped 75% of the way into its completion.
I found a job with the USGS and did a new thesis to graduate a few years later, all of that work done as a fulltime employee and paying off the student loan, which is my point to Ms. Foxx. Neither your experience or mine applies.
I have no doubt, like me, you worked hard while you were in school, but the times are far different and the cost of an education doesn't fit the model 40 years ago. So, stop being smug about it and help the young people who want to afford a good education. That's what you were elected to do, so do that and stop bitching.