Triedaq wrote an excellent dissertation on what's wrong with many areas of our economy, including both education and car sales. College recruiters are basically not much different from car salesmen, convincing as many people to buy the product as possible whether it's appropriate for them or not, and in both industries financing is the norm.
Having retired as a member of a college administration, I could go on for hours on the problems in the postsecondary system both at the college and university levels. I eventually came to call it (never in front of students or other administrators) the "asses in the classes" approach. I'll spare you all, this being a car forum.
As it regards cars and financing, the auto industry has always attempted to convince the customers that they absolutely need this or that new feature, or project an image of a wonderful life in a new "whatever". None of it is true, but the approach has long worked. It was no big deal really back when the price of a new car was 12% of average gross household income and the average car loan was two years. But the average comparable sedan is now 50% of the average household income and the average car loan now is 5 years.... maybe even 6. That's the reason leases by private individuals have become commonplace.... the monthly payments are low enough that people who cannot afford a new "Slickmobile" can lease one, not understanding the long term consequences.
Having been an educator for so many years, I tend to see the primary and secondary educational systems as the "root cause". If they taught math, critical thinking, and basic thinking-disciplining subjects like science, instead of spending all their time and effort trying not to not offend the students and to teach them WHAT to think, as well as to comply with the myriad of bad federal policies, the situation might not have gotten so bad. Please do not interpret this to mean that there are not educators trying their best in impossible conditions. There absolutely are such educators, and I salute them . I see the problems as being the regulators and administrators.
Just one man's opinion, nothing more.