Not all student debt is the same. Generally direct subsidized, direct unsubsidized, and direct PLUS loans can be discharged if the borrower is disabled, dies, or goes through bankruptcy. So while it is unsecured, there are some provisions for discharging the debt. Private loans are a whole different story and are to be avoided. Here is a link with some information on discharging loans:

We will probably take the subsidized loans as they are offered for my D, with the plan to pay them back upon graduation. It just stretches out the payment process a little longer over the income stream in our case.