In 1979 I was 25 years old, working as a technician, and decided to go back to school. I was in a similar situation regarding educational opportunities, except I wanted to pursue a BS in engineering. I was well respected by my boss for my work, and he allowed me to work second shift while I pursued my degree, and in fact started a second shift where there had been none. Turns out some other people in the department wanted to work second shift (3pm - 11:30pm) for their own reasons, so we had a small crew of 4 or 5 which made it not so lonely. The company had tuition reimbursement for courses one passed, so the company paid for most of my degree.
I took three courses a semester each fall and spring; there were two summer sessions and I took two courses each of those, typically one course in my major and something to fill out elective requirements.
The downside: Yes, it was a grind. Nobody outside of school or work saw me for four years. In retrospect, I don't think I had enough downtime to allow all that I was learning to sink in; it is not really the best way to learn. My wife divorced me.
The upside: No student debt, a great sense of accomplishment, and my wife divorced me. Oh, and a BSEE.