I highly suggest sticking to close to home for college, at least for the first couple years as to not get in over your head.
The first couple of years can be taken care of much more eonomically at the junior college as well, and you're more likely to get professional instructors instead of graduate students.
As for those loans driving up the costs, before loans were so readily available, the colleges had to stick to costs that the students/parents could afford. Now, it appears that the sky is the limit. It used to be possible to work your way through and come out debt free with a degree in four years. I did, and it was nothing unusual. Now, hardly anyone does.
Can't we just turn Congress off and then turn it back on again?