We are in VERY similar situations! I own my own home, too, am getting my BSN through an accelerated program and quit my job. Since the summer of 2004, I have racked up close to $57,000 in school loans (this amount goes through May 2006, and then I will have 1 more year. I plan to get a part time job soon to offset the cost, but wanted to wait until I could work as a student nurse) and will probably wind up at $70,000, when all is said and done. Please keep in mind that I (as well as my two kids) live off child support and these student loans! Okay... this is what I have learned. First, fill out your FAFSA as soon as you can and apply for aid through your school. DO NOT just take the amount they give/loan you. Certain things can be added to your budget (the school sets your budget), such as mileage, a computer, copies, childcare, ect. They say I am eligible for about $25,000 a year based on these as well as other school expenses (My tuition runs about $5,500 a year). They can not even come close to touching my budget. Because I already have a degree, I am not eligible for Pell grants, they can only give me so much in Stafford and Perkins loans, so I take out private/alternative loans. Most people reccomend to take out these loans PRIOR to quitting you job because 1. it will be easier to get a loan (some places won't loan you money without income or co-signer) 2. you will probably get a lower interest rate 3. Depending on the type of loan, you could get more money than your budget 4. Your credit must be good if you are unemployed!!!
Sadly, I quit my job prior to applying for aid, but my child support counted as a little bit of income. This limited the amount of places that would loan to me, and I probably got a SLIGHTLY higher interest rate (although I did my homework and it was probably only a 1/4-1/2%). Lastly you have to continually shop around for alternative loans, because their standards change all the time! Someone who gave me my first alternative loan wouldn't give me another 9 months later because I was unemployed, although I was unemployed at the time of the original loan!!!!!
One more bit of advice, do a search on this site for financial aid or student loans in past forums. Good luck!