Finding Ways to Pay for College
There are many different ways to finance college: scholarships, work-study programs, subsidized federal loans, unsubsidized federal loans, Sallie Mae loans, CitiBank "CitiAssist" loans (for part-time and non-traditional students), etc.
There are two types of Stafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Subsidized federal loans are offered to students with a demonstrated financial need, meaning that they have a lower family income. The federal government pays the interest on these loans while the student is in school. This means that if a student borrows 10,000 dollars, they graduate with a student loan debt of 10,000.
Some students opt for loans from private companies, like SallieMae. They offer signature loans to cover any costs beyond those that Stafford loans would cover. They tend to have higher interest rates, but are very useful in meeting the overall costs of attending school.
If parents have their retirement fund perfectly set up and well-planned from a very early stage, they can then think about setting money aside (perhaps in a Roth IRA) that can later be put toward college tuition.
However, it is of the utmost importance for parents to realize that they should not bankrupt themselves or endanger their retirement funds by footing the bill for their kids' college education. There are other ways of helping your kids, and there are plenty of programs geared toward helping your kids finance college, but don't touch that retirement fund!