I've been trying to locate what are called votech high schools that are MS IT Academy partners, which teach SQL Server. I cannot afford 'for profit' schools and votechs like PTEC are extremely affordable plus do a great job in many instances. MS does not track which IT Academys teach what so it's been extremely difficult to locate any that teach SQL.
However, a few votech high schools nearby will be offering MTA certifications in web programming classes that will get me prepared for Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Exam 98-364 - Database Fundamentals.
So my dilemna. First, I'm aware all education is self education. I was in a program w/covered SQL where the teacher did not know SQL. The school closed the class. I'm convinced an IT Academy school will speed my progress immensely. So straight comparison: if you thought you couldn't afford MCSA classes, how useful do you think the 98-364 will be? I'm thinking of immediately starting the 461, 462, etc. as soon as I can afford them.
I'm also thinking the web programming classes will get me through C##, etc. which I'd have to tackle anyway (in the grad degree I'm considering) and should help me w/better positions so I can afford expensive SQL classes. But it will take a year, maybe less.
This was something I had looked at myself and my current route/learning plan is something along these lines. Hopefully this proves helpful to you. Obviously this is my plans but yeah, hopefully this helps you out.
I did also pick up a couple of books from amazon to help with learning enough to cover the MTA. I know you said about having low funds but anything you can invest in your learning will help.