I am almost 32 and have been working in the IT field for 14 years now. I started in undergrad college as a side job while I was getting my degree for MIS. I started out at entry level, not knowing much. But my hunger for learning IT led me to go for certification after certification. I've worked my way through the ranks over the years and am now a manager of IT Infrastructure for the Americas region in my current company. I obtained my MS in IT from a prestigious Ivy league college in 2008, which really elevated my career. I credit it for my current job. Unfortunately, I'll be paying for that fancy education for 20 years so I need to keep a high paying job now
But you have to start somewhere. 32k is definitely attainable for entry level in the IT field. You might even be able to get that with no experience and a good interview. However, I'd recommend getting a few key certs to get your foot in the door and get you that first job. It depends what you want to do in IT. If you want to to IT support, consider the Windows 7 desktop administrator exam. For more hardcore networking, do the Cisco CCNA (not easy). Remember, certs don't necessarily mean that you know what you are doing, and employers know this. But, they sure do help you get your foot in the door.
As others mentioned, you can't count on an employer to pay for your college. Sometimes they contribute if you've been working for them for years and they see you have a bright future in the company, but you can't always count on this.
So if I were you, I'd try to get a few key certs to help you land that first IT job. Keep going to school because people without a degree will always make less and have fewer opportunities.