@anth0nyc – You need to take into account interest on those loans, which can have a huge effect. Unemployment rates are helpful to know as well, though the data might be misleading because other negative factors that affect employability might be more present in the group that doesn’t graduate college. Finally, being unemployed without a college degree and with no student loans can be a better position to be in compared to being unemployed with a college degree and 100K in student loans. Student loans are notoriously difficult to discharge in bankruptcy. There’s a very good chance that debt is going to follow you for the rest of your life (unlike other investments in the real world, where if it turns out to be an awful investment, you still have the safety net of bankruptcy).
A hilariously depressing quote from a lawyer regarding his law school loans:
Have paid: $63,182
Still owe: $158,360.
That’s the tyranny of 8.5%.”