I'm returning to school full-time after seven years in the technology industry. I found that I had run low on worthy goals to be achieved in my field and that I wasn't being intellectually challenged as I wanted to be. I've been financially independent since entering the workforce, but the jobs were not high-paying. Also, I've been unemployed since November. I don't have savings to speak of — in the vicinity of $1000, if that — and for the moment I'm taking advantage of credit cards for the little that I must spend.

In my first attempt at college, I tried working my way through school, and it didn't go well. There are many reasons for that, and circumstances are rather more favorable now, but I want to make very sure to start my new academic career on the right foot.

Also, I'm 26; if I study full-time, I'll attain my undergraduate degree when I'm 30, and I expect to go on to graduate school in one or the other of my chosen fields (physics and music). Reducing my courseload to part-time would push these dates even further into the future. I already took plenty of time off from school; I'm uncomfortable with the idea of taking a long time to get done, and very comfortable with the idea of studying hard for 4 solid years.

Circumstances always change, of course. Once my academic performance is consistently strong, I can reevaluate the possibility of adding a job (whether full- or part-time) to my schedule. But for now, at least, school is job 1, and I need as much help paying for it as I can get.