Nicki Minaj just revealed how dire the student-loan crisis really is

Hip hop artist Nicki Minaj caught the internet’s attention over the weekend for offering to help out with some of her fans’ college costs and student loans. Minaj’s generosity highlights the challenges students face financing their education in an era of eroding public support for higher education.

Over the past few decades, states and local governments have pulled back on funding their public colleges. At the same time, the value of the Pell grant, the money the federal government provides to low-income students to attend college, has plummeted. All of that has combined to push up the cost of college for families, leaving them in many cases to save, scrounge and borrow to afford a degree.

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