As a programmer myself, I appreciate the comparison to logical errors. It fits excellently since the errors we're facing with higher education costs are so well meshed into the normalities of todays society that we can't see them very easily. I also appreciate how simplistically you describe the issue of asking a resourceless high-schooler to pay for college. I believe the typical assumption is that the parents of the child will at least assist in getting them into school. However, realistically there are far too many variations to actually consider that the normal outcome. Students without a parent, or in an economically disadvantaged home may not be able to rely on assistance from home.
I certainly believe that there would be a much larger variation of majors chosen if financial constraints were reduced. There has always been an issue with "what pays" versus "what you want to do". The arts suffer greatly from this mindset, and I believe that the solution often is to just do it "on the side" as you stated while pursuing a lucrative degree. Of course being pushed into pursuing a degree that one doesn't feel any passion for will only lead to unhappiness and lack of effort towards the coursework.
Hello Anne, those are all really good questions. I'm assuming that the reason my loans were so minimal orinally and my loan level increased going into my second year was because several of the scholarships I received for my first year were only for one year. So as the second year came, those funds were replaced with loans. I did realize it, but aside from applying for multiple scholarships each semester and working during the summer, I had no way to combat the growth of my loans each year. The initially low loan amounts were certainly a huge reason, if not the most important one, for my attending UT Austin. The accessibility of the financial information was reasonable, given that we could see the total price, and the rough breakdown of how the funds were covered by each scholarship, grant, or loan. However there was no information as to why the loans were increasing.