The full story is here.
It's interesting. There are fields, of course, where formal education and debt are necessary. And then there is computer programming, where Robert Speer, Eric Raymond, and I suggest you can learn for "free." Well, at least for any of definition of "free" that includes a web connection and a spare PC.
I'm sure free-form learning on a web connected PC isn't for everyone, but I don't think the bar is that high. You just need to think about your own learning plan, and then work at it patiently.
Rome wasn't built in a day.