Making a career of 2D animation here in the US is, quite frankly, very difficult. Even the top union animators only make between $25 - $35 per hour. Finding a job at a studio is nearly impossible. The lower level tweening positions are all outsourced, and studios normally hire from within for the higher level positions.That's the cynical, realistic view. Now, for MY VIEW -JUST GO DO IT!! At this day and age, whatever you want to accomplish is possible - all it takes is a bit of determination and tenacity.The Cocoon Phase
Don't worry about getting into a prestigious art college right away. Start off somewhere cheap and close to home to get your basic credits out of the way - you'll save a BUNDLE, and your artistic growth won't be hampered by the sudden liberation you gain from being completely unsupervised. Use that time to strengthen your life drawing skills and work on your own animation projects. Build up your portfolio, and you'll open the up the possibility of gaining a scholarship or grant. Use this time to MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE this is what you want to do. While your at this 'cocoon phase' find other animation communities online. Facebook has quite a few (2D Animation, Independent Animation, 2D Detroit), and there are many blogsites devoted to the long and rich history of traditional animation (Cartoon Brew, Animation World Network). In hanging out with those people, you'll be able to get first hand information about the current state of the industry - along with tips and tricks and history you'll never learn at school.Putting Gas in the Car
As far as making money - there are many opportunities for freelancing, even for those with no prior experience. Don't limit yourself by waiting for someone to give you permission to be an animator by hiring you - find the work in your community and do it. There are two places I know where you can turn a quick buck as a freelance animator with little experience - web videos for small businesses, and gaming apps. All you need is Flash (and maybe After Effects) and you're ready to rock and roll. You'll have to do your first couple jobs for free -that's just the reality of the world - so find a local non-profit or a start up business you can get behind and make something for them. Not only will you be gaining experience, you'll be supporting something you believe in - double rainbow!Basically, the opportunities are where you make them. The job market isn't the same as what it used to be, so don't restrict your view to archaic 'career planning' sites, or well meaning relatives. You can get far by being friendly, polite, and above all - passionate.