This thread suffers the same myopia the 9.9% thread did. It strange watching how the college educated think about opportunity for the rest of us.
If one is smart, and driven, and poor, lacking in other obstructions, then the college plan can, and generally will work out. If one is poor, and this track is open, take it.
But there is a significant fraction of the poor that very much does not fit this profile. Trying to follow that path can lead to the double whammy of no degree and loan debt.
So let's talk about other options.
No hs diploma closes the door on military, most of the time. Closes the door on skilled trades with apprenticeship programs, and unions. But there are still ways forward.
Many very hard labor jobs pay well and don't require a diploma. Oil rig work, commercial fisherman, under water construction, etc. These are all high pay, high risk options that will not work out as a career, usually, but boost early options.
I knew a complete moron. He worked for me a while. Not good for much of anything, and he had messed himself up as a commercial fisherman. Nearing his mid 30's, he just retired. It turns out that while he was on the boat, he sent his checks to his grandfather, who bought RE investments with it. Then, during the off-season, while his crewmates we're partying in Cabo, he was working with his grandfather on RE. By the time he hired on with the company I work for, he had his costs covered by his rental income, and he was saving 100% of his paychecks. A few years later, as he was getting in deeper and deeper trouble for the generally poor work he did, he just asked his boss if it would be better if he found somewhere else to be. And then he retired. In his mid 30's. When I had been plugging away at my 401k and pension, he was retired.
But if you can stick it out to HS graduation, more doors open. Get into an apprenticeship. Go to work, go to class, move close to class, as work is everywhere. Then start finding side jobs for yourself. Then find side jobs for your buddies, then go full time at finding jobs. Very high success rate, for a person who can set this up properly, but setting this up requires more than it takes to run it, so having someone show you how to do it makes it much easier.
The thing people don't like to think about, is if one is poor, every path is high risk.
So, if one is poor, choosing a path with the greatest return, early, and changing that path, is the right way to go. Unless the education route is a good fit. Then do that.