Hate to intrude on your self-absorption bubble, snowflake, but MY generation heard exactly the same message... in 1986.
When interest rates on student loans were 14-18%.
and the average annual salary was $30 000.
Yes, you need a degree today, but you don't need to take out a loan to pay for it. Take 7 years to get a 4 year degree, pick up a trade in the meantime to pay for it and carry you through the job search after getting the degree, and you will still be ahead of your peers, since you will actually be able to afford to do the things that you all dreamt about doing before you turned 30.
While web developers are watching their job prospects disappear as the jobs get outsourced, they still need to be able to take a dump, which is why plumbers are making $100K.
BTDT. I'm not new to this game. I've been working since I was 14. Started as a woodturner, running my own production shop the next year. Mostly heavy industrial, with the health problems, side effects and scars to prove it. I've been in university for the past 4 years, another few and I'll be done. The trade you mention? Well that'd be great, but first you'll need a few years with a decent company to get the apprenticeship so you can go to school to get certified so you make more than 10$/hr, and have a little bit left for savings... Except they gutted the apprenticeship system. For a heavy equipment operator certification you since it's private, which means no student loans to cover it, which means you need 15k to take the course to maybe get into the trade after. I have a friend who did that. He got the 15k together at 22, did the trade school for a year, after a couple years he moved up to a pay grade where he could afford to save university, so long as the courses were in the evening.
With part time school, he should be done at university when he's in his mid 30s, but then he's too old for most companies to want a fresh bachelors degree when they can get someone younger with the same papers.
A good salary for a university aged person outside of school is 30k today. Most places won't hire anyone in university, part time or not, schedules rotate too often, and they don't have any interest in someone who might need to keep the same day off each week for courses.
As I said, I went in eyes open for student debt, until I landed this job, I fully expected to spend the majority of my life paying for my degree. I knew I was getting fed a **** sandwich. It was important to my parents so I held my nose and ate it, and I won't be bailing on my loans. Not that you can in Canada since bankruptcy doesn't affect them, only death. One of the benefits of eating one **** sandwich, is you can tell when someone's handing you another one, and I'm not biting on the nobility of paying money into a debt that you'll never pay down. I'm going to pay mine off, but I'm lucky. There but for the grace of god go I as the saying goes.
We are heavily indoctrinated into from early grade school, and then some people got a rude surprise figuring out it wasn't true. Why should you expect a student to honor their promise, when what they were told they'd get in return for the years of debt was a lie? When people with any sort of power and influence regularly bail on commitments, with the great example of banks etc to look up to.
100k a year for a plumber means union job, which means they were one of the lucky few to land an apprenticeship, then get enough years on the job to get the seniority up. Almost all well paying jobs hiring freezes on, if not you still need to know somebody already in.
Here 32 hours a week at 10$/hr after tax is much more likely, subject to your company's requirements of course. That'll fluctuate from 20-40 hours a week as needed, and you can't have a second job, because you need to keep 7 days, and 18 hours a day open to account for schedule changes. If you are lucky you might get an understanding supervisor who will get you a static schedule once you've got enough time in, then you can add a second job.
550$/month will get you a basic room in someone's basement(with the mold and pest issues that come with, a decent room runs 700$+)
500$/month to make payments on the student loan(25 year payment schedule, assuming insurance rates don't go up since loans are prime+2.5%, )
90+$/month for the bus pass to get to work
1280$-1140 leaves you with under 5$/day to cover food, medical expenses, utilities, cell phone(some phone is required for most companies in case of shift changes), clothing.
You'll think I'm exaggerating, but that is the reality for a lot of university graduates here, so they end up sinking deeper in debt, when they had the carrot of a decent job held in front of them the whole way through, and then got dumped out. Any decent paying job will do a credit check too, as will any decent place to live... So they end up sinking farther every month, paying less than the interest that keeps adding on top.
I count myself lucky every day, I get 15$/hr after taxes now, 40hrs a week, for the foreseeable future, and only pay 500$ a month for my room, most of the time the rats are in the walls, not even inside my room(ants, mice and mold are another story).
I see my friends struggling, and I am aware of how incredibly fortunate I am. I can put a roof(floor) over my head, and food on the table more than once a day. That hasn't always been the case. I'll get a few hours sleep in between coughing episodes tonight, write a paper before class tommorow at 9am. Then I'll go to work and get home around midnight. Repeat the next day.
Don't tell me I don't know what it means to work for what I've got. I have shed enough blood, cursed my shaking hands enough times while working ill, hungry, or with broken ribs I couldn't afford to take time off for, spent months running on no sleep from back injuries and being unable to sleep since lying down means my lungs fill up again. I've coughed up enough blood, dust and oil to know what it took to get me here, where I can afford to pay my tuition and even consider buying a boat to live on now.
I am incredibly lucky, I've finally landed a nice, safe job. Doesn't mean I don't see what it cost me to get here.