However, I think some of these comments are kind of missing the point though... there are (already!!!) many forms of content online (including online webcasts, whitepapers, blog posts, etc. from our team) but the point of these classes is to get in a room with experts plus your peers and really go deep on SQL Server for one week. By getting into a classroom and being able to interact and learn from other people's experiences and to just "immerse" yourself for a week is priceless really. We've had folks that have paid for their own attendance that have felt it was worth it! And, we've had a few folks that split it with their company. And, some folks have made contractual obligations to stay at the company for at least 12 months after training or they pay the company back for the training costs. There are really a lot of options that you might be able to work out with your management/company. It's definitely true that there are expenses and costs (airfare and hotel) but airfare can be very affordable with planning (purchasing the ticket well in advance and adding in a Sat night for example) and we work with the hotels to make the nightly costs affordable as well. You really don't need a rental car and our classes include lunch, snacks and at least a continental breakfast as well so expenses on-site are minimal.
So, while it's true that training can be expensive UPFRONT the long terms effects if you can do your job more effectively, more efficiently and more accurately then you can reduce downtime, data loss and improve performance. It's really unfortunate that companies don't invest more in their employees. And, if your company doesn't - maybe you should consider looking around for one that does?? It's true that these companies are giving you a salary but there should be something in there for career growth and for your future as well.
Hope this helps?! Certainly feel free to post more questions/concerns if you have any!!