First, when your child is a sophomore or junior, start to investigate small, lesser known colleges that may be LOOKING for students with average GPA’s. There are thousands of small, little known schools with amazing educational opportunities. All you have to do is LOOK.
Second, have your child STUDY for the ACT. ACT scores are usually what colleges use to determine merit scholarships. Even a jump from a 20 , a very low score, to a 24, a very mediocre score, can translate into $4000 per year in scholarship money. EVERY point counts. How? There is an amazing online course called www.publictutoring.org where a very well known PRIVATE tutor has put all of her lessons online. The entire year only costs $79, and she livestreams a class every week. It has really turned the tide for thousands of students.
Third, start GOOGLING colleges that give merit money. You will be surprised how many will help with tuition EVEN if your student is not at the top of the class.