I've been through the student debt mill twice, both as a student and as a parent. It can be a real swamp of quicksand. In today's hard economic times, both high schoolers and parents might be asking themselves just how much debt is too much, in light of the possible return on that investment in today's (and perhaps tomorrow's) job market.
The term of my daughter's college loans payoff was 10 years, after she graduated. My son's was shorter than that. My own payoff term was more than 10 years due to some personal circumstances (career issues, basically) that kept me from making full payments. However, even during the tough times, I always made at least interest payments, if not some part of the principle, so that my credit score would not be torpedoed. That seems to be one aspect that young people overlook when times get tough: their credit rating, which can turn into a giant hurdle years down the road.