didnt read the whole thread but a bit offtopic - if you cant finance your kids college maybe you can send them to Europe somewhere in university you trust, it is MUCH MUCH cheper + BS degree is 3 years...
i know it depends would your kids like to, but some would probably..
they'll still need to do a foundation year + the 3 years
if they're only getting a high school diploma (grade 12).
they'll have to do something equivalent to A levels
or get the IB diploma in order to get an offer as a
first year student.
every normal man must be tempted, at times,
to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
and begin slitting throats.
Online learning is not necessarily lower quality learning. Neither is doing things through correspondence.
To me, lecture, even with the question-answer possibility (which is rarely utilized) is the least important part of the educational experience.
When I started taking my physics classes at the state university near where I live, I couldn't attend the classes because of work. I struck a deal with the professors to just show up for tests, and turn in homework sets. I learned the material by reading the textbooks, thinking about the material, and solving the problems. I out-scored all the people who attended the lectures with the opportunity to ask questions, etc. etc. This is better than I ever did in school before.
People teach themselves, ultimately. Professors are guides for this process.
I think a professor who gives thought provoking assignments at just the right level of difficulty is a really good one. I think that is the art of pedagogy.
With that said, some of the best universities in the world are giving away their course material for free. Classic textbooks for subjects are well known. Work every problem in a standard like that, and you will be way ahead of a person who sat in class attempting to passively absorb the material.
Still, there is something to be said for kids being away from their parents, setting their own boundaries, and learning to be accountable for themselves, while still having somewhat of a protected environment. That is also something that college provides. But maybe you child can move into your garage or basement, and be treated as being on their own (without the financial burden).
As far as finances go, if they do go to college: There are cooperative learning experiences that companies have with universities. In the computing industry, these involve paid internships. I essentially put myself through undergrad with the money earned through this. Many people did this, even after the tech-bubble burst. The economy is even worse now, but that may still be an option.
Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future. Robot Fusion
"As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
"[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
"[P]etabytes of  data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield