I thought it'll be a mistake to compare the situation with my time.
Back in my days, I could work for 3 months full time in the Summer and get enough to pay for the next years college tuition. Good jobs were not plentiful yet available. My wife worked 2 jobs while going through her graduate degree. Sometimes we had to supplement the living cost by working part time all year round while going through school full time. Not entirely easy but doable.
I don't know any Summer job today could pay for next year's college tuition. I don't even know a college grade could find a job to pay for the next year's grade school cost after the living expenses.
Rental cost of a 2 bedroom apartment in a 1960 building cost more than my current mortgage around college town. That's 5 blocks away from the edge of the campus. One of the less expensive units we could find in the Bay area.
I honestly don't believe it's possible to tough it through the higher education without help from family. It's not totally impossible, however, I don't have the heart to have my kids supporting themselves through school.
I really don't think I want to be a kid today to start all over again. It's much tougher than my time.
As for that guy I mentioned, whom free ranged his kids after high school. I must be fair to clarify that he did "everything" for his kids . I don't agree with his method but hey, It's not my kids.
He granted and supported his kids by sending them to their choice of after school activities. Volley ball club, baseball club.... these are not school team clubs. These are private clubs which have their own coaching and activities and competition. Cost a lot of money. Monthly dues, practice rounds, traveling and lodging to compete with other teams......but the kids were never good enough to be drafted by the collegiate team.
His family resides within the number one public school district in our City according to the annual school ranking by the U.S.A Today with other publications , but he sent his kids to private schools. It costs more than the State University for tuition for the private schools. His kids got all the newest gadgets when available, Nintendo in the older days and laptops and smart phones. The newest and the best , whatever it was. His kids became arrogant and slipped away from the reality of how competitive the real world is. My kids were looked down upon by his kids because my kids did not have their toys , did not travel like them , .........
In other words, he did "do everything" for his kids. We disagree with the method of caring for the kids, but how could I tell him not to spoil his own kids ? I hinted to him several times then STOPPED right there. I don't think his oldest graduate from college yet , 7 years after the high school.