American Leisure writes in...
You like to harp on not paying for degrees in something as, well, not conventionally "valuable" as a creative writing MFA, and I agree with that sentiment. However, even with TA-ships paying 10-15k during the school year, the reality of having to pay $700-$1500 a month for rent in these college towns (plus deposit and year lease), added with all other expenses, doesn't make not going into debt to get this usually-worthless degree doable. Thoughts?
Update: I've changed my response since Anxious Latecome pointed out that I'd missed the point of the question. Something about the word 'harp' distracted me. In any case, thanks AL.
It's true that 15K is not going to cover all of your living expenses, even in a small college town. Personally, I worked as a bartender and waiter for all three of my years at UMass. This was like three shifts a week. It got me free meals, a wad of cash, and limited time to spend my other money. And, I got to work with other artists and writers actually.
And, I worked part of the summers. Usually picking up a teaching gig with a summer seminar. So, you can go this route, or you can take out some loans to cover basic living expenses.
Re: "Usually worthless degree." It's an artistic degree, just like painting or sculpting. It's a craft degree, where you work among other artists. It's not an MBA. Or a Law Degree. Personally, my degree was far from worthless, either in monetary or personally fulfilling ways. Attending an MFA program has had a profoundly positive effect on my life. It changed things, when I definitely needed change.