I would also bear in mind that the current stafford (federal) loan rate is 6.8%, with private loan rates for students starting at the prime rate (8.25%), with some adding as much as 6% to that.
That changes my nightmare scenario quite a bit. BTW, I'm using the calculators at Bankrate.com, if anyone wishes to check their own situation.
$75K at 6.8% paid at $500/month is almost 28 years! ($93K in additional interest!)
At $1000/month (which most folks can't swing) it's 8 years and you're paying $22K in additional interest.
At $400 a month that debt will last forever, because you aren't even covering the interest.
That's just crushing.