Professor, I hear what your saying. But most of this seems to apply to new students who will be attending college full-time. What about working mothers who need a degree to improve their professional position?
Everything that I have said regarding student debt and most of the characteristics of a school to attend apply to you as well. However, your needs are slightly different. Obviously you must attend a school that is proximate either to your home or your job. And if your financial situation is such that you would be pressed to attend school full-time, then do not give up your day job-no matter how rosy a picture school administrators, the faculty of the school and the media paint for you. I generally advise people to stay with the job and get their degree part time.
I also generally discourage people from leaving a secure position (especially in this economy) to a position with a different company. The only exception to this is when you are increasing responsibilities and pay. The company may be willing to pay for some or most of your education. This company should already be familiar with you so you don’t have to prove yourself to them. Your employment is most important and the position must be secure.
There is a lot to be said for job security. Don’t make a move unless you are sure it exists with a potential new employer.