Which school are you planning on attending?
Here's my take - I'm perfectly content to borrow the tuition money. The killer is the cost of living which seems way higher than I would ever believe. I've got a job right now and I live on way less than $25k which is what DMU basically lists for the non-tuition costs. Now some of the costs are school related - ie. books and instruments, but a lot of them are lifestyle. Perhaps someone will prove me wrong, but I suspect that with 19K in your pocket you can borrow the tuition money and live out of pocket for a year. If it truly costs $25k then Iowa is a lot more expensive than I've been lead to believe.
What is this $920 dollars of equipment we're buying?