What a mature and intelligent question - you are ahead of the game to be thinking this way already. I don't know your situation, but there are a lot of resources out there for financial aid, scholarships and grants--some of them are not so easy to find, but it's well worth the effort. I wish I had been more conscientious about researching these options when I was in school, because the debt can build very, very quickly. There are also work study programs where you can earn credit and/or money while still in school. I would also be very thorough when choosing which school to attend - unfortunately schools are competing for tuition dollars and they often inflate the statistics of their graduates (i.e., they will say graduates earn a certain median income or have jobs x number of months after graduation). You can get a wonderful education at schools that don't have a big name - many of them have excellent reputations, and if you know you want to stay in a certain geographic area, some smaller, less expensive names have better reputations in certain areas than if you are doing a nationwide search. Lastly, I have recommended this path to family and friends - you might consider a smaller school or community college for the first year or two of undergraduate, and then transfer to the bigger school after you have a couple years under your belt. Check to see what the transfer requirements are before doing this, but it's a very economical way of getting a great education, and you have the "big name" school on your resume when it's all said and done! Best of luck to you!
The more FEDERAL loans you can obtain, the better and especially if they are subsidized.
Be CAREFUL to check all the fees involved if you get private loans. Banks know people look at interest rates so some banks put in hidden fees. Trust me all the fees and interest will add up after you graduate.
Use FASTWEB to search for scholarships or in my case, I obtained a 0% interest loan years ago. Good luck!