I came out of university/postgrad stuff with about £40k of debt (before over a decade of interest!).
Some was on the SLC loans, the majority was regular bank finance provided to law/medicine/accountancy grads to help with extended study and exams.
To be honest, the interest rates on all loans have been (for the most part) very low, but that doesn't change the fact that I received no advice or assistance as a young lad, straight out of school, as to what this really meant.
Clearly, it was my responsibility to consider what I was doing, but at 18 you seem to be steered into university without much guidance at all. The funding for most is the least of their worries, behind actually getting a place.
Mine was a worthwhile investment from a purely financial perspective, but not sure I'd do the same again if faced with similar choices, it could have turned up very differently. The bank financed deals were no income linked, those payment just started coming out of my bank account...to the tune of £500 per month on top of my student loan.
As a trainee I wasn't earning much money and had £500 a month come off just to service the bank debt. Then I qualified and had a total of £800 a month.
Even if I hadn't managed to secure a training contract, the £500 a month would have been deducted (or not!) from my bank, which could have ruined me before my career even began. Happened to many, many friends.