Ginatio, I can speak from first-hand experience that there is no fine, just a fee. I was born in 83, came into the country in 86 and was issued a SSN. Yes, much of the world has changed. You cannot received federal assistance for college and LS w/out being a permanent resident but there are other ways to pay for one's education. One could always go to community college then transfer into their state univ. and pay w/ savings. Don't forget that many immigrant families may live dirt poor but have a ton in savings under the mattress. Also, you can join the reserves, the coast guard, nat'l guard, you name it. That gets you on the quickie-track to citizenship and federal assistance.
Also, you'd be suprised what those 80s-issued SSN can get you. I know one guy who was illegal and already had a SSN and DL and became a CPA. (He later naturalized by paying to marry a US citizen). These policies are based off of the IRS wanting to receive revenues. In fact, it's a federal crime for an IRS agent to call the INS and tell them that they have an illegal in their office.