What shocks are you running right now? Stock? If you are looking for a decent set that won't break the bank, I'll recommend SJ Hydros, I run them. However, I know now I should have dropped a few more dollars and gotten some nicer riding shocks.
I feel you on the budget, but if you aren't going to replace springs for a while, get some Bilstein 5100s or Rancho 9000XLs like Blaine said - since you know first hand you approve of the ride quality.
Where are you going to school? I'll bet you end up driving more than you think...