The College Where There's No Tuition

From hotel staff to firefighters, there’s something surprising that many of the workers at the College of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri have in common: they’re students. While many undergrads are forced to take out student loans or work to pay for tuition, students at College of the Ozarks have no tuition. Each of the 1,500 students is assigned a job to offset the cost of education. Students work 15 hours a week during the school year and are able to graduate debt-free. It’s a bargain for both the students and the college, which can reduce its costs by using students to fill many of the jobs on campus. College officials say they are staying true to their mission to provide an education to those who are worthy but without sufficient means since their founding in 1906. According to Bryan Cizek, Dean of Work at the college, 90% of each class attending school must demonstrate financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The school’s innovative approach is relevant at a time when as many as 43 million Americans have some form of student loan debt.