Data from The Institute for College Access and Success shows that the number of students who graduate with at least $40,000 in student loans increased nine-fold between 1996 and 2008.

Sally Raskoff at Everyday Sociologyoffers some explanations for the data:  (1)  College has been getting more expensive; among other reasons, states cut education budgets.  (2)  For-profit colleges have also become a larger proportion of all colleges and students in these colleges are more likely to take out loans.   (3)  Given a bad economy, students are less likely to have jobs while in school.  Other explanations?  Stories?

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.