I recently attended a session at our high school given by a financial aid officer at a local college.
He reviewed a number of issues, including key points about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). New in 2011-2012 will be a major redesign of FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) that includes the ability to retrieve data from the IRS that may be transferred to FAFSA.
He also listed two other strategies for making college more affordable: accelerated learning (taking two classes each summer can shorten the stay in college by a semester, for example) and living off-campus, which enables the room and board costs to be paid monthly, rather than in a lump sum. Finally, he stated that students who have some financial stake in the process (even if it is just paying for books or personal expenses) seem to take their college experience more seriously. I can't verify that, but it sure makes sense.
Meanwhile, here's a nice tidy list of financial aid myths -- good reminders for those of us just starting to think about financial aid.