I got all the way thru my MA without having to go into debt for one penny.. Was that because I was somehow particularly astute at managing money? Well, the pruners factor ub that was at the tune the Calif State and Univeristy of California system didn't charge tuition. You paid for books, miscellaneous student fees, registration fees - but no tuition. My last semester at CSU Fullerton I paid exactly $140.
My doctoral program was another story. At the University of Iowa I received in-state tuition as a teaching assistant, but it was still about $3K a year. My assistantships weren't enough to cover nt living expenses, so after I ran thru my savings I had to take out loans. The total came to $25K. But that was SMALL compared to others I knew.
I had gotten it paid down to about $18K when I became permanently disabled. I was able, eventually, to get out from under that debt entirely. But I suspect the way those things are handled now, I'd still be paying on that debt even tho since then the most income I've had as about $1,6K a month.
Luckily for me...SMARTLY for me...I never went for any of the loan options beyond those offered by the state. No supplemental private bank loans for me.
So glad I got out of it when I did.