Parents drowning in student loan debt

Six figures still isn't enough to pay for col... 02:00

The cost of a college education is still going up.

Tuition at private, nonprofit colleges now costs, on average, more than $31,000, according to the College Board. Add meals and housing and the total tops $42,000.

Those rising costs have many parents drowning in debt.

Joe Bua never had the chance to go to college, so it was something the 57-year-old wanted for his four kids. Even though he makes almost six figures as a court clerk, he says the debt from student loans has been debilitating.

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One of Bua's children is done with college, another is still in school, and just for them he's $165,000 in debt.

"Yeah, it's really difficult," Bua said. "And the worst part about college debt is that you can't get rid of it with bankruptcy, it stays with you forever."

Bua's family is not alone. More than two out of every three students graduating this year with a bachelor's degree will owe an average of $33,000.

"The big driver of tuition increases is state budgets," said Lauren Asher, president of the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success.

Forty six states have cut funding for state colleges since the recession.

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Since 1988, tuition has grown from about a quarter of a college's budget to almost half. Faculty and staff salaries account for the biggest piece of the pie.

"Tuition went up to cover the difference and students and families took the hit," Asher says.

By the time all of his kids graduate, Bua estimates he will have taken out about half a million dollars in loans. But he's learned from the experience of his two oldest daughters.

"I have to say, with my son, I try to convince him to go into the military," Bua says, "because they'll pay for his education."

Bua's kids will takeover the debt as soon as they're done with school. One daughter already has, and at age 27, she fears never being able to buy a house because of the debt she already owes.