It's about that time of year again. Fall is most assuredly over, and with it the mass influx of potential students onto college campuses. That means that millions of parents across the country are not only bracing for their children to leave home for the first time, but also  to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition.

A recent report by the Institute for College Access and Success suggests that going to school in the Midwest or Northeast will result in higher levels of debt than anywhere else in the country. While on one level that might be true, Fool contributor Brian Stoffel explains why there's much more to it than that and by simply reading the headlines, people are missing out on the bigger picture.