There is no denying that college is expensive, sometimes prohibitively so. It also isn't a good fit for everyone.
In "Better than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree," Blake Boles offers a blueprint for obtaining an alternative higher education. He argues that college and higher education are not the same thing. While some careers definitely require that college diploma, there are many others that don't and it is possible to obtain the knowledge you need via other means. Boles encourages building self-knowledge, giving yourself assignments, creating and sharing value, finding support, and marketing yourself. He then offers concrete examples of how to do this and the stories of those who have taken the road less traveled and been successful.
While acknowledging that skipping college is a risk, he maintains that in today's world, going to college is a high-cost risk as well. There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the journey. The only guarantee may be that of a mountain load of debt. In any event, if a self-directed education doesn't work out, attending a traditional college is always an option, even later in life.
"Better than College" should be on the required reading list of every high school student. It's always good to have options when planning for the future.