You can go to a state school or university, or a community college for much less than a private college. Plus, there are scholarships and grants that you can get. It depends on your age, your schooling, where you live and where you want to go. My cousin went to UCLA but had to live in Cali first for about a year to get the residential tuition cost. It would cost more for a person from out of state to go there. I went to a private college and recieved grant money and had work study - I worked at the school for a reduced rate in my tution. Plus, when you get your job you will most likely make back the money you spent, but again it depends on your field. I would research the job you want and find out how much you can earn, and how easy or difficult it is to get that job. Research is the key, and don't count on the school to give you the real scoop, because they just want your money.
Only you can decide what you want to do with your life and whether or not you will need to have a college education in order to accomplish your goals. There are numerous benefits to spending money on a college education though. You can find some of them here: http://militaryfinance.umuc.edu/education/
Personally I think it's absolutely worth the cost and the loans, it will open so many doors for you and really broaden your horizon. College is a great place to hone your interests and figure out what exactly it is you want to do with your future. If you don't go to college you still will be able to do wonderful things, but the 4 year experience is amazing and truly worth it.