Can more colleges become "free" by being work/stody?

In Branson Missouri their is the College of the Ozarks. In can be, if the student wants, “free”. They dont even take federal loans. However they have to work at least 30 hours a week for the school or its many businesses. This has earned it the nickname “Hard Work U”. For example they have aworking farm and a store where they sell products. They are most famous for their fruitcake and jellies. They sell over 25,000 fruitcakes a year. They also operate theKeeter center which is a hotel, restaurant, and convention center. Their museum is famous in the area partly because it has the truck from the tv show “Beverly Hillbillies”.

Having students do many of the jobs on campus from cleaning to mowing grass to paperwork greatly reduces overhead staff costs. Working at many of the college businesses (milking cows, making fruitcake, waiting on tables) teaches the students valuable job skills. Money magazine and other sources give the school high praise. Fox News once did a segment there.
Granted the school isnt as liberal or open as others want. They have some strict rules like no opposite sex in the dorms, no booze, 1:00 am curfew, and filtered internet.

We had work/study also in college but it would not have paid for your full tuition. My old school, University of Kansas, already makes millions off selling licensing fees but I think that mostly goes to the sports teams. Might not that better be used to support the college?
Could more colleges do something like this? Could colleges start businesses for the students to run and make money from?

I can’t speak for this school, but 10 hours a week of work-study plus trying to do my homework, even as a fast reader, damn near killed me. I wonder if there’s a hidden agenda about keeping students from having any free time to, say, date.

A few maybe, certainly not enough to educate the majority of people. And colleges that provide outside labor or goods take jobs away from other people in the community. All those fruitcakes are not fruitcakes sold by the church bazaar or at the farmers market or the local bakery. Plus electron microscopes are difficult to fund with fruitcakes.

And I’ll agree with Susan, my daughter is currently a freshman. Four classes is about twelve hours of classtime a week, and another 35 hours of studying, reading, research, labs. College is a full time job.

I could see the idea working, with some tweaks. A modern CCC, for example. California could offer “free” tuition at a state college in exchange for a few months doing work for the state. Operating on the assumption that everybody involved in the program has a high school education, there are thousands of jobs that could be done. Do 3 months of CCC work, get a year of tuition waived at CalState San Marcos or wherever. Note that the work would NOT be concurrent with enrollment. Work first, then go to school. Both would be full-time work.

By “not as liberal or open” do you mean “will expell you for being gay?” Because that’s what the linked article says.

No thanks.

My college was full of students working - bus drivers, cafeteria and food court workers, office and library workers, IT staff, editors of the newspaper and magazines. I did the newspaper’s nascent web site and I got paid (I was even in the state retirement system).

Isn’t this how all colleges work?

Did it pay for full tuition and board?

No thanks what? No thanks, you wouldnt go to that school or no thanks such a school would not work if it was pro-gay? My OP was whether the concept could work in other places not if you liked the school or not.

No. I assume they were just-above-minimum-wage jobs. I don’t understand how one could expect for-profit colleges to take all these jobs that are already being done cheaply by students or even just by staff, and make them high-paying positions enough so that students can use them to cover tuition and boarding in full.

Another cool idea would be if retail shops and restaurants paid their workers enough to cover health insurance as well as full-time college. But we run in to that “for-profit” wall again.

Here’s another idea; income share agreements, or a contract between the school and the student in which a percentage of the student’s future income is pledged to repay the tuition cost.

As for the school you mentioned, it’s a small school, with only about 1,500 students. I’m not sure the model translates to larger schools. (Deep Springs College is an even smaller school with the same work-for-tuition model.)

I was told by my friend that students, primarily Polynesian (she’s Western Samoan), that get a full scholarship sponsored by the Mormon Church at Brigham Young University Hawaii requires them to work at the Polynesian Culture Center. Many as performers and that they also rotated behind the scenes jobs. Some students get permanent jobs there after they graduate.

From their own webpage, the College’s budget is heavily reliant on donations/charitable giving and their existing endowment to the tune of 70% of their annual budget.

So, is this a model that could work in some other places? Yes.

Is this a model that could work in general? Probably not.

They have an alternate funding model based on reliable donors and keep their costs down. The work-study part is fine and does contribute somewhat, but it’s not nearly enough on its own to fund the school, even by their own numbers.

Berea College in Kentucky has a similar tuition-free, work-study-heavy model, but it works because they have considerable endowment income. I think if an institution is going to make it work, the school has to be either very small (e.g., Deep Springs), or fairly small and very rich. Also, it’s just not a model that will work for every student – if you’re non-traditionally-aged and have a family to care for, for example, a school where you’re supposed to devote every waking moment to your work-study job is not going to work for you.

I’ve heard of scholarships that have a work contingency, usually volunteer work or internships.

Several of the companies I’ve worked for offer full or partial payment for courses or advanced degrees (Masters, PHD) related to the field you’re working in.

Good points.

I do wish there were more such schools.

Wikipedia lists nine what are called “work colleges” as recognized by the US federal Department of Education, including:

Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky
Berea College in Berea, Kentucky
Bethany Global University in Bloomington, Minnesota
Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois
College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri
Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas
Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas
Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont
Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina

So there are a few others.

They’re all small, Christian schools that rely heavily on donations from the religious community (except Sterling which is a tiny (125 enrollment) school with an emphasis on the environment) With declining religious participation and thus fewer dollars available, I look for these schools to get rarer, not more abundant.

According to their website “Full-time students work fifteen hours per week to cover a portion of their education. The remainder is underwritten through grants and scholarships, which are made available through donations.”

And although the college does not participate in any student loan programs, it does require students to complete a Federal Student Aid application. That 15 hours per week and 2 weeks of 40 hours covers $4,312 of the Cost of Education (tuition) of 18,700 per year. The remainder is made up from any state or Federal grants the student is awarded and a scholarship from the school. Room and board is separate, although the student *might *be able to work 6 40 hour weeks in the summer for each semester of room and board- which costs $3700 per semester. There’s a total cost of $26,100 and the mandatory work covers $4312 of it.

It’s not accurate to say that the students’ work pays for the full tuition and room and board - working 560 hours for the school pays for $4312 just the same as working 560 hours at Burger King at $7.70/hour will give you $4312 to pay tuition at the college of your choice. It’s probably accurate to say the college could never fill all of those positions at $7.70/hr if they didn’t have students fill them- sure, you could probably hire an office assistant for the print shop at $7.70/hr, but how do you then get someone to take the manager’s assistant job in the print shop for the same $7.70?

None of this means it’s a bad idea - but it’s the sort of thing that can only work as long as donations are coming in or the endowment income is high. If the College of the Ozarks starts admitting fewer students eligible for Federal grants, they will have to make up that money somewhere. If the donations drop, they will have to make it up somewhere. Cooper Union gave each full time undergrad a full-tuition scholarship until 2014 when financial issues led that to be reduced to a half-tuition scholarship

Funny you should ask that question today. Missouri’s Department of Higher Education just issued a report that says the state-supported colleges and universities need $320 million just to get through their backlog of deferred maintenance and renovation.

Unless the work-study programs include plumbing, carpentry and electrical work, it won’t solve either the students’ or the scholls’ problems.

I’m all for students working hard for their degree. But if I were a student at that school, I’d be bummed out that I had to work 15 hours a week as a hotel chambermaid when I could be using that time to get experience in my field.

But if you want to go into hospitality (or the fruitcake business), I guess all of that sounds groovy.