To get a good job get a good education, or so the saying went.
But getting a college education leaves many students saddled with debt.
That's the thrust of a cleverly-titled story in Time Magazine, "I Owe U," that outlines the dimensions of the crisis:
"Total U.S. student-loan debt, which exceeded credit card debt for the first time last year, is on track to hit $1 trillion this year."
For students who go overboard with debt, Time had a sober warning:
"It's nearly impossible to discharge federal or private student-loan debt in bankruptcy."
Yet the average graduate is carrying more debt.
Nationwide, average debt for graduating seniors with loans rose from $18,650 in 2004 to $23,200 in 2008, or about 6 percent per year.
The think tank had some good news for California -- for once we're on the low end of the scale.
The project calculates that California graduates have an average indebtedness of $17,326, which ranks them 44th in terms of debt burden.
A majority of California students also graduate without significant debt. Or as the project reported the numbers, only 48 percent of students here had significant debt, which made ours the 43rd ranked state by that measure.
But the rising cost of education and the fear of going into debt may be causing young Californians to think twice about going on to college.
During the recent School in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, organizer Stephanie Olague said she was worried about being able to afford college.
"But my future depends on going to college," said Olague, a senior.
Budget cuts in Sacramento won't make it easier for today's high schoolers.
The University of California's nine campuses already have tuitions ranging from $11,124 to $12,150, while California State University campuses cost about $6,000, according to an analysis in the San Francisco Chronicle that predicts more tuition hikes to come.
So student debt is rising. So are college costs.
The high-tech economy depends on a highly educated workforce. And public policy groups have been warning for years that the state is heading for a shortfall in college graduates.
We have a problem.
Who bears the major responsibility for solving it: students and families, government, industry or all of the above?