I think this is an interesting topic, so I applied a "sticky note" to it.
I did not have any debt when I graduated from college, but I had to live on a tight budget.
My own 2 daughters:
Both began working when they were 15. Friends criticized me as they had to drop some school activities. They saved money and bought most of their own clothes. I bought them one pair of good athletic shoes & one dressier outfit each year. Every thing else was either Christmas or birthday gifts. I was lucky that they made tasteful choices in clothes. They did not have cars before attending college - see below.
The oldest had a good scholarship when she started. she was third in her high school class without trying. In addition, she held a job while in school. I insisted that each of my girls take out a personal college loan - This doesn't have to be huge, but I felt it would help them be committed to their end result.
I insisted that they major in something that led to a job. The oldest wanted to major in music. The choices I gave her were to have a double major: either "music-education" or "music-business' were what we narrowed it down to. The other daughter majored in accounting.
We realized it could mean going to school a 5 or 6 years to complete.
Our opinion - get started in school - even if it wasn't full time.
My experience with other family & friends - if they work for a few years - they never start their education. Other focuses such as buying a house and starting a family take over.
My youngest is now 31. Both of the girls have paid off their debt. Because of planning, we were able to pay as we go and as parents had no debt. I thought I would have to borrow against my 401b, but didn't. We never had high paying jobs. It wasn't until my girls were in college, that my job started paying more. I read how much nurses make on either coast - I made about half of that.
Both girls took a class or two on-line each summer.
One of our biggest expenses was a car and an apartment for a daughter who ended up at a regional campus that didn't have dormitories. Our other daughter lived in a dorm at a state university and didn't need a car.