Forbes recently published a list of the best colleges and universities from the students' point of view. The University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities placed 418th, dead last in the Big Ten.
Minnesota does stand out in one ranking, that for total student debt, where it ranks 5th (the ranking excludes for-profit institutions).
Big schools, of course, have more total debt. But this is still a disturbing statistic. (There's a link to the data source for the article for those who wish to dig deeper.)
The Consumerist has a great analysis of the mechanics of student debt, which stands at a staggering $829 billion. The article compares government-sponsored student loans to sub-prime mortgages and argues that it is not only the higher education institutions that are raking in the money. The government has also profited from skyrocketing tuition since students have to borrow more to finance their educations. Everyone wins but the students.