With total outstanding student loans now topping $1 trillion, many have said it has now become a full-on crisis, but that may not be entirely true.

The rising costs of college need to be addressed by all parties, from educational institutions themselves to the Federal Government, and everyone in between. However, data has revealed the absolute importance of college, as those with college degrees in the recent Millenials generation can now expect to earn 50% more in annual salary versus those with some college or a two-year degree. This is a wide disparity compared to the Silents generation -- those born between 1925 and 1942  -- where a person with a college degree could expect to earn 15% more than someone without one.

In addition, the recent suit by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) against ITT Educational Services highlights the need for students to be aware of both the true costs and benefits of the institutions they're attending, as it showcases some of the for-profit colleges are only seeking to enhance their bottom lines, and not the lives of students. 

In this segment of The Motley Fool's financials-focused show, Where the Money Is, banking analyst David Hanson is joined by Fool contributor Patrick Morris to discuss the student loan industry as a whole, plus the recent lawsuit announcement that sent ITT Educational Services stock tumbling and what it all could mean to investors and individuals everywhere.

Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.