I won't comment on education/college in my experience because I went through it 20 years ago and it's not the same today.
However, I did try to 'upgrade' my skills about five years ago. I wanted to step into into the HIM side of medical records (Health Information Management). Because I couldn't afford to stop work for the year or so to take an actual sit in school course, I found one that not only was online but one of the very few certified by the national organization.
I applied, got accepted and moved on to secure the funds I needed for the course. Yes I work full time, but with a home, bills and other typical life stuff so my pay was going for that. I could not afford to take the course without help.
I was told I wasn't allowed to get help because I worked, and when figuring for money I could get, they considered my 'living wage' as what it took to put a roof over my head, and that's it. Not even groceries was included, or water bill, into the cost of 'living'. So basically I made enough, they said, to pay for the course despite the fact that all my funds were tied into other things that I could not back down/away from. I was told to "get a loan from the bank" but that was not an option for me.
So, I didn't get my course.
In situations like this, IMO, if someone is going to further their standing in their profession then there needs to be some help offered for people who want to do so, AND so that if they can keep working if they need to.