One of the saddest conversations that I have ever had. The son of a local family well known to me, with a place at university and with that place confirmed today. But he won't be going. Fifty grand of debt? No, thanks.
Nor would I, from an impeccably middle-class background, have taken that deal. That would have been the biggest mistake of my life. But I could not possibly have known that at that age. If he had been born 12 days earlier, then he would have been all right, or at least better off. There really is no answer to that.
The best that can be said is that, as historically, an economic, social, cultural and political difference might be made by the re-emergence of that previously common phenomenon, a large body of people who would have gone to university, but who never did because their families could not possibly have afforded it.