College tuition and costs have gone so high that many question whether college is a worthy investment. For many people who go to college, the amount of money that they end up having to pay after graduation because of college debt can be overwhelming.
It seems as though college is quickly becoming something that only the wealthy can afford without piling on mountains of debt that then consumes their income after college. Another option is getting scholarships but not everyone has the talent in sports or the academic achievement levels that typically earn scholarships.
What if college could be free as long as you were willing to go to a particular college and study within a particular field?
These tuition-free or tuition-reduced schools are easy on the wallet and high on value.
Location: Point Lookout, Missouri
Tuition price: Free, not including room and board
Value: $17,900 per year
How they do it: College of the Ozarks puts students to work. To reduce the cost of hiring outside labor, the College of the Ozarks requires all students to work 15 hours per week on campus and two 40-hour work weeks during the school year in positions ranging from landscaping to administrative jobs. Any grant or scholarship money students receive through other sources is also applied to tuition costs, and all remaining tuition is covered by the school’s more than $350 million endowment. Students may cover the cost of room and board out of pocket or work it off through the Summer Work Program.
Others like it: The other four-year work colleges in the U.S. — Alice Lloyd College, Berea College, Blackburn College, Sterling College, Ecclesia College, and Warren Wilson College — have similar business models, though Alice Lloyd College and Berea College are the only others that offer totally free tuition. Deep Springs College in Inyo County, California, also offers free tuition as the country’s only two-year work college.