The article cites a census bureau estimate that college graduates will earn about $1 million more than non-graduates over their lifetimes. Seems to me that I recall that same number being touted when I was graduating from high school nearly 2 decades ago. I wonder about the basis for that claim. Certainly it's been historically true that a college education was virtually a guarantee of higher earning power, but I doubt that's true for as many people these days, for a number of reasons -- not least of which is the law of supply and demand. Having more people with college degrees tends to devalue those degrees, so that a college degree alone is no longer a distinguishing characteristic for new job seekers.
Given the above, notice that three of the four examples listed in the article had gone to school for advanced degrees. More time in school means not only more debt, but a longer delay before entering the workforce and being able to start paying off that debt.
Also notice that 3 of the 4 examples listed had enormous debt loads which paid for degrees of questionable economic benefit. $116K for a Masters in Public Policy? $118K for a Masters in Social Work? What the hell were these people thinking? An education should be an investment in your future, and paying that kind of money for those kinds of degrees is just not a solid investment. And the kicker for me was $130K for a freakin' Bachelors degree in "Cinema and Photography". WTF???
This bit was interesting: "Her parents had saved more than $97,000 for her college education. But when the tech bubble burst in 2000, their college savings shrank to $23,000." Uhhhh.... excuse me, but if the bursting tech bubble caused your college "savings" to shrink by 75%, that wasn't savings so much as gambling with the kids' college fund.