By no means am I saying that you can and will graduate debt free. However there are a few things that you as a student can do before you go to school to see if you will be paying loans off for the rest of your life or just for the next 20 years.
1. Consider going to a community college(I know that this might sound like a terrible thing to do) it is cheap in comparison! Don't let your ego get in the way for deciding what school to go to. Go to a school that you could possibly afford.
a. How do you decide what you can afford? Sit down with your parents to discuss how much of school you will be paying for and how much they will be paying for. Do they have expectations of what your grades are going to look like?
2. Look at what scholarships are available at any University to see if you might qualify.
3. See what loans you might end up being awarded.
a. Subsidized loans- these guys are the ones that you want if you can get them. The reason why is because they do not accrue debt until six months after you are out of college. And also the interest rate is low, which is exactly what you want.
b. Unsubsidized loans- These loans are not as great because they start accruing interest the second you accept them from whatever school you are going to. That means you have to start paying them off on a monthly basis for the rest of your college career and even after depending on the expense.
4. Get a job! Of all the things I have learned in college myself getting a job, or starting a business, is by far one of the best choices. You can pay off your schooling easier and even just pay for textbooks with ease.
5. Put together a budget. Outline how much food costs, housing/rent, entertainment and medications.This will give you a better idea on what the true cost of just living will be. Then you can know what kind of pay you need to have in a job. You might have to work two jobs or even three just to get by.
College is certainly meant to be fun. Yet make smart choices. There is no need to go to a very expensive university if you do not know what you want to major in. That is truly putting money in the trash! Keep goals in mind(like graduate in four years without putting my parents in debt). I have gone to college just recently and it can be difficult. Just keep swimming and be persistent and you will make it!