Rural Missouri - October 2016 - 10
Where working to learn is how students invest in their own future
by Heather Berry | email@example.com
or the 1,500 students attending one southern Missouri college elbow
grease and academics go hand in hand. Nursing students milk cows,
criminal justice majors mow grass, while communication students
wash windows. Any day of the year, the College of the Ozarks campus
in Point Lookout is a virtual beehive of student workers. Nearly any job which
needs to be done on the 1,000-acre campus is done by students, and the trade
off is sweet - a college degree and not 1 cent of tuition debt to their names.
The Wall Street Journal dubbed the fully accredited, four-year liberal arts college "Hard Work U." decades ago and the moniker stuck. The sweat-equity college requires students to work 15 hours per week at one of 80 on-campus workstations - as well as two 40-hour weeks during breaks - to cover tuition costs.
Students may apply to move into different jobs on the campus if they wish to
change duties after a time. But just like in the real work world, they must apply
and go through an interview process. If students prove financial need, they also
can apply to work summers, which pays any room and board fees as well.
C of O, as the school is often called, is one of only seven work college campuses in the United States.
"We average about 4,000 applications each fall and only 450 of those students will be admitted," says Marci Linson, vice-president of patriotic activities
and dean of admissions for the college.
"If you want to be a student who only wants to come to school, goes to class
and doesn't interact with anyone or the community, this isn't the place for you,"
Marci says. "That's not what College of the Ozarks is about. We have very high
expectations of our students, and the kids we choose tend to meet those expectations. It's not easy to get in, but students understand the benefits they're
receiving far outweigh the work they'll do."
The college openly discourages debt and doesn't participate in any government or private loan programs.
"This is a work college, not a debt college," says President Jerry Davis, noting
that years ago the school stopped taking students who wanted to take out loans
to pay for schooling instead of working.
Potential students joining the faith-based college work-study program also
must agree from the get-go with the school's strict no-alcohol and no-tobacco
policies - and the rule applies when students are on or off campus.
Originally called The School of the Ozarks, the academy was founded in
1906 by a Presbyterian missionary named Rev. James Forsythe, starting out
as a work school for poor children in southwest Missouri. In 1965, it became a
4-year liberal arts college. In 1990, the name changed to College of the Ozarks.
In the past two years, the college added a laboratory school: School of The
Ozarks. The K-12 school is modeled after the college campus.
While the name changed, the college's mission has always been the same:
to provide Christian education for both boys and girls, "especially those found
worthy but who are without sufficient means to procure such training."
While the college promotes a Christian education, people of any faith are welcome to apply. Students are required to attend a combination of chapel services
and assemblies each year based around the college's five goals - academic,
vocational, Christian, cultural and patriotic.
With nearly 100 full-time faculty members, the student-teacher ratio of
15-to-1 makes the smaller college class sizes appealing to many students.
"We currently offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in 44
academic areas, so potential students will find us competitive with what other
colleges offer," Marci says.
Marci adds while C of O is serious about its work-study tuition repayment
program, don't think education gets pushed to the back burner at the school.
Below left: Students make short work of cutting grass on the vast College of the Ozarks campus located in Point Lookout, just south of Branson . Below right: A nursing instructor discusses
the intricacies involved in treating heart patients. Students completing this four-year program at the college will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2016
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Intro
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Contents
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Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - October 2016 - Cover4