It’s a little odd thinking back that even when financial aid was more widely available for prospective college students, even then I was too poor to go without taking out massive loans. I didn’t want to do that, as I had been raised to shun credit. It was like cars or drugs or personal relationships or booze: something other people used that ended up causing trouble and costing money. Best to avoid at all costs!
As an adult, I’ve taken on debt of my own for a car and a house. It’s not so bad. Looking back, I wish my younger self had been able to get to a city sooner, as just being closer to higher education would have made it more feasible and less costly.
I did manage to take some college courses in the end, but ended up getting married and employed as a web designer before I had the chance to finish.