Based in Missouri, the College of the Ozarks is a Christian liberal arts institution. A rarity among US colleges, it charges no tuition fees, targeting those who may struggle to fund higher education in the US and allowing them to fund their studies through work.
90% of C of O’s student body is composed of those who may lack the funding to study in a fee-paying institution. Instead of paying tuition, students put in 15 hours of weekly work for the C of O museum or computer centre, or in any of the other 80-plus areas in which they can seek employment across the college, in addition to two 40-hour weeks per year during academic holidays. As a result, its students are among the few who complete higher education in the US without incurring debt.
Founded as the School of the Ozarks in 1906 by Presbyterian missionary Rev. James Forsythe, it introduced the four-year liberal arts courses that it offers today in 1964. There are now more than 40 study programmes at undergraduate level. It has been co-educational throughout its history.
The C of O owns more than 1,000 acres of land around Point Lookout, 50 miles south of Springfield, Missouri’s third largest city and capital, and a similar distance from Springfield-Branson National Airport. The college is 10 miles north of the border with Arkansas. Alcohol and tobacco are forbidden on campus.