Hey – this is my opinion gathered from people I know in the web design community…
Qualifications don’t mean squat. They are awesome to do, and I would always recommend people do them to learn as much as they can, but only do it when you are in a position to. I think of all the people I know in the community of web designers I can connected to its about 50/50 on qualifications. Experience weighs so much more heavily, and talent, but even more so – connections. I know far too many people who got a degree thinking it would lead to an awesome job and find that it actually means nothing, they want to see your portfolio for sure – not a piece of paper :) That’s where uni can be great, as you can really build your portfolio with some cool stuff, learn new techniques and develop a "style".
All my work recently has come via connections, recommendations and people asking me to team up on projects with them – if you want to run the freelance life, get yourself submerged in the community which is awesome btw.
What I would say, if I were you, is go 110% after the freelance/contract stylee life. Not only will it enable you to work from pretty much anywhere what with the possibly move in the future, but also it will let you set your hours enabling you to study if you want to or do other family style things.
Now I am not saying leave your job right away, but see how much work you have as a freelancer, overhaul your rates if required – get on twitter and into the community and sell yourself hard. The more work you put into it the quicker you can escape.
If you are like me the next job you will get will be like the one you just left – I hated working for people, I hated the 9-5 monotony of it every day – and I hated commuting lol
Remember life is boring unless you grab it by the horns as to say.
So that’s my thoughts – please don’t base your decision around it completely but take my experiences from it. Oh btw – I have no qualifications.