My parents paid for a total of $0 of my college education. I worked two jobs and took out student loans. I am the first person in my family to have a degree (actually, degrees), my parents were probably considered working poor.
You don't have to qualify for most student loans. You just need to be enrolled in college. (Usually full time.) There's no credit check involved. If there were, no 18 year old could get a loan -- they usually have no credit or lousy credit.