I worked my way through college - no loans. However, I agree, it seems costs are much higher now.When did you attend college? Keep in mind that tuition has been growing substantially faster than inflation for quite awhile now. It was much easier to work your way through college a few decades ago than now.
I worked a full time job while in college, and still graduated with a ton of debt (all federally subsidized). State college tuitions are likely to grow rapidly as we further reduce funding to them.
We recently calculated that if costs remain constant for the next 8 years (not very likely) - until all of my kids graduate - I will owe roughly $250,000 in Parent PLUS undergrad loans. At this point, two of them are full speed ahead to obtain Masters - cost is not included. This is net of scholarships, savings, credit cards, and out of pocket contributions (cars/insurance/gas for instance). Hopefully they will be able to find jobs upon graduation?
My twins want to work their way through and help pay. While that sounds good, I ran the numbers and given the extra time required - it's better for them to not work (except in the summer) and concentrate on grades and completion.