A few disclaimers: I've got most of this taken care of, as I have discussed this with my parents and my department at UW... also, this is a question focused on grad school, but the grad community seems sort of defunct compared to this one, so I thought I'd talk about it here. Also I checked the Memories and related entries for some extra info - still want to post this, anyway.
I was accepted to the Computational Linguistics Master's program at UW recently, and I just received a bunch of paperwork and the like. I also joined the Facebook community! Hooray!
Here's my problem, though - out-of-state tuition. I'm coming from California. I only recently found out that my parents aren't going to help support my tuition or anything else - I'm on my own. Yes, loans and the whole thing will be fine, but still, it's a hefty amount... I estimate that I'll be spending about $65,000 to live in Seattle and be a full-time grad student for two years.
So I'd like to establish residency to cut the tuition ($41,286 for two years out-of-state) by more than half. I was originally thinking of deferring my enrollment for a year while I simply work somewhere - but then I remembered that there are some undergraduate classes I still need to take. So I'm thinking that I could be a part-time student and take those classes while working, and then taking care of my actual Master's program a year later.
I don't want to take out loans. Whether or not I take out a loan, I'll still need to pay back the out-of-state tuition in full. Current money issues are not the problem - it's the future I'm worried about. Also, financial aid won't do much. At 21, I'm still a dependent. No money from the government.
So does a year of part-time student status, working, and establishing residency sound feasible? Has anyone else done this? Does anyone have any other advice? Thanks a lot, and nice to meet all of you in advance.
edit: seems I should have started at the source before I asked all of this. Computational Linguistics charges the same rate for both out-of-state students or resident students. Never mind most of this!