The conversation gripping the nation’s $1.6 trillion of student loan debt is getting louder as presidential candidates heat up the primary vote. Two of the loudest are U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont who are promising plans that would erase billions in student loan debt while greatly reducing the price of college.

A few state schools have tried introducing aid programs meant to prune the burden for low-and-middle-income students. The University of Michigan is one of them.

About 2 in 3 members of the class of 2018 graduated a little deeper in debt than the class before them. Last year’s graduates with a bachelor’s degree averaged about $29,200 in student loan debt, a record in the U.S., according to USA TODAY newspaper. That’s about a 2% increase from the class of 2017 whose members graduated with an average debt of $28,650, based on a new report by the Institute For College Access and Success.

The growth of student loan debt has slowed, but the institute said college affordability remains an “urgent concern.” Millions of students continue to struggle with their debts, according to the institute.

The Institute for College Access and Success collected data from about half of all public and private not-for-profit universities for its report on the national student loan debt. The report said the figures represent more than 70% of all graduates.

Borrowers from the Northeast had the highest average debt compared to those in the West region who graduated with the lowest. Connecticut had the highest average, $38,659, and Utah had the lowest at $19,750.

If the method of paying for higher education remains the same, average student debt is likely to continue to rise, according to Mark Huelsman, an associate director at Demoas, a left-leaning think tank, who studies student debt.

“We have depressed ourselves into a mind-set in which $39,000 in debt is acceptable for a degree,” he told USA TODAY.

How long have we been discussing the student loan debt crisis in America now? It’s been discussed for decades and nothing seems to get fixed.

Senators Warren and Sanders, and other candidates, can come up with various plans, but they haven’t given us any realistic methods of financing their plans. The overall national debt has spiraled out of control and we haven’t seen any valid plan on how to fix that mess.

When a candidate proposes a plan to ease the student loan debt in America, make sure you pay attention on how it’s going to be paid for. Remember, we’ve had political candidates tell us this same story for decades past and the student loan debt keeps soaring. So has the overall national debt.