There was a day when people used to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, make their own way in life, create empires starting with a rock, a stick, and three buttons (they had no duct tape, you see).
While most people who tried this kind of thing failed miserably and died penniless, the ones who succeeded have chapters written about them in our history books.
Even 100 years ago, pretty much the only people in America who got a college education were the children of the very wealthy. No one else could afford to pay for tuition.
But today we have a great equalizer. While it sucks to have $50,000 in student loans to pay back after school, it sucks much more to work in fast food, retail, or hot and noisy factories for 50 years, then die on the job and be replaced before they even drag your carcass away.
Education pays, simply put. Not everyone with a degree has the self-motivation (or luck) to get a great job. But almost all professional jobs require degrees now. And they tend to pay a lot better than factory jobs.
If you can graduate high school in the United States, you can succeed at your local community college. But you have to have a plan. Don’t party or goof off. And don’t take a bunch of goofy classes. Take the general education classes you can transfer to the big state university or private college. In fact, call the admissions people at the state school or private school and try to get a list of gen ed classes to take at the community college. Get your freshman and sophomore classes cheap this way, then transfer to the school you really want to attend.
If you want someone else to pay for your education, talk to a military recruiter and give your country four years of your life. Make sure you understand all the rules with the GI Bill and other education benefits before you sign up.
Research career fields that pay. And find out where certain jobs are great, and where they aren’t. The US Department of Labor tracks that stuff. You pay for their services whether you want to or not. So use their website to research careers.