Hello! Hoof that’s a tough situation. I hope this can help.
The thing I learned after spending 4 years at SVA and over 100k in loans is that… You don’t need to go to college to become a successful artist. Well fuck! Wish someone told me sooner. What you DO need is the discipline to spend your time productively (to build just as good of a portfolio as any other graduating student) and a proactive attitude. There are plenty of courses online that will teach you the basics of storyboarding, character design, gesture drawing, digital painting, etc at a FRACTION of the price from any school. (check out http://www.schoolism.com/school.php or if you’re in SoCal, http://conceptdesignacad.storenvy.com!) Look to see if your town offers any figure drawing classes (because that will always be your most important class), again MUCH cheaper than paying for school, or just ask your friends to pose for you.
One thing you could do is hit up some people who go to schools you like and ask about their courses. Most people will be kind enough to respond haha. I used to incessantly bother people from Gobelins or CalArts ;;; But hey it resulted in some pretty rad friendships! We’re all just trying to learn, here. Start giving yourself weekly assignments based off of what you hear. Challenge yourself! Find online communities that do weekly challenges, or daily challenges like Sketch Dailies. It’ll be super important to make yourself an online presence because even though you won’t be around industry folk in person you could still be in their MINDS. Doing a film once a year, like what is required of both CalArts and SVA students, and debuting it online will help a TON. Think about it! That’s four films to show potential employers that you know your shit and you’ve done your research. And the tools to make films are so easily.. downloadable. TV Paint and Flash for 2D animation, After Effects and Final Cut for compositing (those two take some getting used to but there are enough youtube tutorials to teach you everything you need to know), Photoshop for your pretty paintings (unless you’re all traditional in which case more power to ya). I don’t condone pirating but… OkayyesIdo. At least until you can pay for it yourself ; )
Clearly I’m not an expert on what to do if college isn’t an option for you but from what I’ve gleaned from coworkers and friends who went down that path it’s entirely possible to do it.