This entire conversation is written in love. I swear.
You CAN afford college and here's how. Get scholarships, be an R.A. (free housing, free food), work 20 hours a week and PAY FOR IT YOURSELF. Do not take ANY student loans.
The amount of money that they put on your FAFSA saying "the cost of living" is the "suggested" amount of money that you should spend while you're in college. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SPEND THAT MUCH MONEY. In fact, just call and ask how much tuition is. Work to pay tuition. Do not take out loans for room and board.
It may take you five years. It may take you six years, but do you realize how long it's going to take to pay off credit cards and students loans just to be able to say you finished college in four years and lived in a nice off-campus apartment.
If I knew then, what I know now about money, savings, loans, credit and debt I'd be SO rich right now. I'd be making it rain all over
There's not one salary for graduates with debt and another salary for graduates without debt. Essentially, if you graduate with debt, you're already behind [net worth] the curve.
I wish someone had this conversation with me before I went down to Urbana/Champaign. So if you're in college or have a friend, cousin, sibling, child going to college, please share this with them. Their bottom line will thank you.