Some interesting advice here. Actually one reason I want to get into a program IS cost. In-state tuition is dirt cheap at the U of A. And considering my current situation, much cheaper than building my own darkroom which would require me to literally move house (I rent, and EVERY possible place for a make-shift darkroom has a skylight...). If the resources are there, it could be cheaper to go to school.
My biggest problem is finding ANYONE at the UofA who actually can talk to me about this! Which is very different for me since I went to a private university where they were very good about helping you decide on what program to enter.