Wednesday, July 25, 2007

All Work and No Debt

At the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, aka "Hard Work U," says the New York Times, 95% of students graduate debt free because they all must work 15 hours a week to pay for their tuition. There are 7 such "work colleges" in the country, all rural and most Christian; the others are Alice Lloyd (KY), Berea (KY), Blackburn (IL), Ecclesia (AR), Sterling (VT), and Warren Wilson (NC).

According to the College of the Ozarks website,
"Our distinctive work program, one of only a very few such programs in the entire country, makes college affordable for many students who might not otherwise be able to meet the cost of their education. For others, the work program means freedom from having to pay back large school loans after graduation. Best of all, the on-the-job experience you gain as a College of the Ozarks student will add extra dimension to your learning. Unlike many of your friends attending other colleges, you’ll be starting your career debt free; well educated; and work experienced! "
From the article, it seems a lot simpler than that: "Lauren Smollen, 21, who comes from a single-parent household in Jefferson City. “My family doesn’t have a lot of money,” Ms. Smollen said. “Here you’re pretty much guaranteed to have college paid for. You don’t have debt, which is a pretty big deal when you don’t have a lot of money.”"


Anonymous said...

There are many ways young people can get through college debt free. They can work while attending part time and pay out of their own pockets. They can get a job at a college and enjoy tuition remission. They can find companies that sponsor degrees. They can join the military and use the GI Bill...

But those options and others are more difficult than signing a loan agreement and making grand assumptions about future earnings.

Opportunities are there for the go-getters. There's no need to feel bad for young people if they are "inconvenienced" with having to earn their way.

redante said...

Hello Dr. D

I don't think Anya's post is meant to "feel bad" for young people who earn their way to school. I think it is more of a "hey how come these types of opportunities for young people aren't more prevalent instead of going into debt." At least that is how I read it.

Anya said...

Actually, Dr. D., it is not economically feasible for students at most colleges to work as little as 15 hours a week and graduate debt free. Most students work more hours and graduate with debt on top. There are not enough opportunities out there for all the "go-getters" because lawmakers have chosen debt as the major means of college assistance. I think it would be great if there were work colleges in 50 states.

Eric said...

This work-college thing is a GREAT idea. College should be for those that really want it, not because it's an expectation of parents, simply the next step or any other dubious reason.
I have to agree with Dr. D that there ARE plenty of opportunities out there for "go-getters" that don't include debt. As an example, I got several scholarships that I'm VERY grateful for.

Well said, liberal arts dude.

K said...

I worked 20 hours a week when I was in college. Starting salary when I was a freshman: 6.50 an hour. My tuition, plus room, and board: 30k. Most of my friends who have attempted the work/school route, are still in school ten years after we graduated from high school.

The GI Bill isn't as great as it was when they first doled it out around vietnam. As one person who had spent ten years in the military told me: I wouldn't have stayed for so long if I'd known they'd give so little and dole it out in such weird ways.

Fewer and fewer companies are sponsoring degrees (esp undergraduate) because fewer and fewer companies are willing to train people that they're only going to fire in a few years during the next round of layoffs.

Those options also aren't laid out to young people, AND young people aren't given a financial education that prepares them to understand the debt that they're taking on. Oftentimes, neither are their parents.

Anonymous said...

It's an age old issue.
Most young people want to be with their friends and "hang out", drink beer & smoke drugs rather than work and study.
When your 18, who cares about what's going to happen when your 30? Very small % even spare a half thought about it. 30?! thats sooo old is the answer you get from most.
It's a pity and a shame.
But it's always been that way, and is'nt likely to change soon.