My cousin's daughter is in her 2nd year at college. She is going for free at a cal state college and living at home. She had a 2 year tuition free scholarship. Amazing. So she's going to have 2 years of university for free and then transfer to a different UC or Cal-State and finish up. So amazing. She plans on being an elementary school teacher which as people know is not the best paying job but an essential one. Since it's not high paying it's pretty amazing she's able to do it with minimal output. This will mean she'll be further ahead when she gets out!
On the flip side I have a client paying for UC Davis $70k year out of state tuition. I'm not sure what his kid is doing in their 2nd year as well. He has another child about to go and he's again estimating $70k, so he'll be shelling out $140k in tuition and living expenses a year.
You can see how on both sides of the coin college can be as cheap or expensive as you choose to make it. What will I do? I don't know. But I'd like to believe that I'm being flexible. I am on track to have 4 years saved at an in state college tuition/living expenses. I am on track for about 2 years at a private/out of state school. And I've saved both in ESA, 529, and taxable so there is a ton of flexibility on what the girls might choose to do. I will admit seeing the $70k price tag gave me a bit of sticker shock and fear over what it might cost me. If my kids went that route $300k seems a bit insurmountable. We don't have the time now with 11 and 9 to save that much nor will we get there with what we saved.