One question prospective students frequently have concerns the ability to work while also holding down a full academic schedule. See below for an explanation from Jes Walton (NRSD 14), who worked in two university jobs in her first semester before heading to Costa Rica.
We students manage to make it work. I held two campus jobs — one staffing the desk in the library's Graduate Research Center and one as a writing counselor — and went to class full time in the fall in DC. It's a busy schedule but totally manageable. Others had internships during that time. And still others arranged a part-time class schedule and full-time work, which means that you wouldn't be finishing the degree in two or maybe even three years (a very drawn out degree but maybe an option).
AU has a great, extensive database for campus jobs, which I chose for the first semester because the supervisors are very flexible and aware of student schedules (such as time off on school holidays and lighter work loads during finals). Also, once you accept at AU, you'll have access to student temporary job boards on the AU social network. The university's Career Center might also be a good source of information for off-campus jobs.
Also, if you really make the effort, you might be able to find a paid internship during the summer (in DC or wherever you choose to be). I know that's far into the future, but it shows that there are lots of options to earn a little bit of money here and there throughout the program. The spring semester also offers flexibility for more work and less class, with the option of finishing classes during the summer.
See? Lots of options! I hope that wasn't too much information. The idea is that we all come from different backgrounds and are in different situations, so we have to make different arrangements that suit us.