It's quite possible to learn for free. You don't need to buy a book anymore. You don't have to attend classes. No more wait-and-see with film. This is the digital age. Get a dSLR then scour the internet for sites that teach you for free. Here's one and here's another one that specializes in film. You can ignore all topics about film except the one that discusses grain. Here's one that dives into the guts of photography itself instantly. Here's one about composition which you can learn even with just a point-and-shoot camera. There are lots of sites out there. You just have to be patient on looking for one you can understand.
Now you know!