BERKELEY, Calif. — When she transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, JoLynn Kelly split a bunk bed in a tiny loft apartment – and the $2,800 a month it cost to rent.

“I had to get a loan just for that,” said Kelly, now a senior who plans to become a math teacher. After racking up $16,800 in debt, she finally moved out and now commutes from her parents’ house, 30 minutes away on the rare occasions when there isn’t traffic.