Some public HE students go into debt in part in order to participate in collective joy and thereby compensate for the negative affects of indebted life.
Let me explain, and in so doing tie some things together in and around some favorite themes: student debt as feature of neoliberal HE, political affect, and the grotesque nature of the NCAA.
Now collective joy in football stadiums is all the more intense insofar as collective joy has been eliminated -- or at least drastically reduced* -- from everyday atomized and debt-fueled competitive life. So you go into debt in order to compensate for the negative affects of indebted life.
The key here, I think, is that students who would be attending a public HE school face a life of debt anyway, whether they go to college or not. So why not have some fun? Since, as the note below will claim, you have to pay for your joy even if you don't go to college.
In what sense does everyone need to be in debt? There's the obvious sense of using debt to make ends meet at the end of the month. But beyond that is the "indebted subjectivity" business (Lazzarato; see Read and Wortham) Just to get a job you need to be "serious," and to be serious you need to be in debt.
That is, to be serious, stable, a good employment prospect, etc., you need credit worthiness, but to display credit worthiness you have to be in debt. So I wouldn't be surprised if employers are now looking askance at folks who don't have credit card debt: they might up and quit if they aren't tied down and we can't have that. I think this bit is dropping down the SES tables: at one point you needed a mortgage and kids to display your seriousness for executive positions (and hence lessen the chance you'll quit on principle). Now it's credit card debt just for service positions; that would be the hypothesis.
*Actually, it's been reduced in the sense of rendered scarce in order to support its commodification: you want joy? buy a ticket to this show!