The activists had an idea: What if they bought the original debt at its usual deep discount, then, instead of going after the debtors, simply cancelled it?
There are two prices for every college degree: the sticker price and the net price. The sticker price is the number that most schools list in their brochures. The net price is that very same number less scholarships, grants and financial aid. It is what you actually pay. For an incoming freshman, this net price is the number that matters the most, and until recently, it was also the number that we knew the least about.
Perhaps not surprisingly, grad students tend to take on more debt when going into fields where the pay is higher. Students studying medicine and law typically borrow more than $100,000 to get through school, and many go on to high-paying careers. At the other end of the spectrum, many Ph.D. students wind up in academia. Most get grants and subsidies — and the majority don't have to borrow any money at all to get through grad school.