I'm 23 years old, living on my own. I graduated from Nashville Auto-Diesel College in 2007. Moved to NC fell victim to lay off due to an unstable economy then moved home to work for a very large and reputable heavy equipment dealership. Six months in fell victim (once again) to the economy and suffered another lay-off. After much irritation and realization I've decided to change careers to the law enforcement and criminal justice field which in high school was my central focus until a friend convinced me (and my 17yr old mind) that automotive technology was the best choice and a quick entrance into the work force. The problem I'm facing now is I have student loans that I'm paying back now from my stretch in technical school and I'd love to go back to college to pursue my original plan of a criminal justice degree. I live on my own and financially, I'm uncertain of how to obtain the degree to give me the best edge on getting hired into law enforcement. I've attempted doing so for the past year or so while maintaining a full time job with not much success because people are being hired who have a 2 or 4 yr degree in law enforcement/criminal justice even though their physical agility testing and civil service scores are not as high as mine. I believe that with a degree and my current scores my goal would be easily achieved. My question is this, What are my options now that you've read my story? Are grants out there to assist a young person such as myself in furthering my education while helping me to still be able to keep a roof over my head and food on the table or am I completely out of luck? I'm clueless as to where to start.