You have got to be the masters of your own financial future.
I get so frustrated when people tell me it's unrealistic to create an eight-month emergency savings fund, or have money saved for a home down payment, or pay off their $5,000 credit card balance.
The new American dream is one of responsibility. What is the bottom-line number that you're going to be able to pay back toward a student loan responsibly if you're doing it yourself after you have a job? That dictates the amount of money you can borrow. That dictates the school you can go to, if you can even go to a four-year college at all.
If you are worried about job security and do not have an adequate emergency fund (ideally eight months' worth of living expenses stashed away in a federally insured bank or credit union), you need to focus more on saving money than paying down the balance on your credit cards.