We have a number of teenagers who will be graduating High School with in the next year at our church, and of course college is something that the students and parents are starting to look more into. I have spoken with one parent and she is concerned about the costs and the debt that her son will have after graduating( this is a poorer family in our church). We have a youth pastor who graduated college two years ago and as of right now he still owes $ 18, 000. His wife graduated this year and she owes about the same. So between the both of them they are starting out with about $36, 000 in debt. Both of them say they took full advantage of every financial assistance program they could. My pastor also graduated about 8 years ago, and he says he too is still paying on debt accumulated in college. My question is this: Is there anyway to graduate college without going into serious debt? Did my pastor and youth pastor make some financial mistakes along the way, or does $18, 000 sound about average? Can any of you who have been through College/ Seminary offer any advise as far as financing is concerned? Looking back, are there things you now know that you would have done a bit different back then? Any info would be great.