Students have turned to loans to keep up with the price hikes. The class of 2015 has the most debt in U.S. history, with each student graduating with an average of $35,051 in loans. The national total recently reached an all-time high of $1.2 trillion.
"It's become a very large problem very quickly," said Mark Huelsman, senior policy analyst at liberal public policy organization Demos in New York. "I'm optimistic we're going to see this have its moment."
Experts are already drawing comparisons between student debt and universal healthcare, which several presidential administrations tried to tackle before it took the spotlight during the 2008 election. Then, Democrats touted the successes of Massachusetts' 2006 healthcare reform just like they're now pointing to Tennessee's 2014 college promise plan that lets high schoolers get two years of free tuition at a local community or technical college.