Our Schedule

Saturday, September 10, 2016

And it's tuition free

Branson, MO

We are currently at the KOA in Branson, MO where our NOMADS annual meeting starts tomorrow.  Last week we were but 5 miles down the road.  While there, Carol and Howard Stoner stopped by to invite us to join them for lunch.  Carol is the Chairperson for this years meeting.

Sure enough...., just give us time for me to change into a better looking top and Len to grab his hat.

They took us to

The College is known as Hard Work U

This is a completely tuition free 4 year college.  Each student works 15 hours a week when in session and two 40-hour weeks during breaks.  On the 1,000 acre campus is a dairy farm, agriculture center, carpentry shop, restaurant, gift store, airport, bakery and so much more.   Students are assigned one of 80 workstations that include a computer center, diary, fire department, warehouse, hospital, farm, print shop, campus security, offices and many more. Along with their degree they learn the value of hard work.    It is mostly self supporting.  

On site is the Ralph Forest Museum.  Admission is Adults $6.00/Age 62+ $5,00.  High school age and under is free.  Here visitors learn Ozark history and more.   There is a CD available for a driving tour of the campus.

In this building is the restaurant, a gift shop and currently a military display of the Vietnam war era.

The gift shop sells those items made on campus.......summer sausage, pottery, weavings, fruit cake, cookies, gift items, furniture.   In the lobby is an kiosk selling ice cream made on-site from their own herd of cows.  There is also a bakery. The vegetables, meats and dairy in the restaurant are provided from on-site.

Senior students bid for the server jobs in the restaurant as they get to keep their tips.  The servers are very professional, dressed formally in white jackets.  Looking into the restaurant.

We had a marvelous lunch.   I had smoked tomato soup, chicken salad on a mini croissant and sweet potato fries.  Leonard had BBQ brisket over jalapeno grits and fresh green beans.  Average cost of lunch is $10.00, dinner $16.00.    Quite impressive.

Furniture made by students:

Look at this fireplace and sitting area.

The front porch.

We hear calls for the government to provide free tuition to all students.   I believe people maintain a degree of dignity when they WORK for what they receive.  We see that when we provide labor at peoples home through the NOMADS program.  Most of the homeowners, aside from being thankful for what we do, want to work along with us.  It gives them pride.

We visited a similar college in Berea, KY a few years back.  The students worked.  They were proud of the results of their efforts.  The campus was beautiful.  Again, tuition free.

In both cases, private industry sees the benefit of endowments to these institutions.  In the case of College of the Ozarks, Bass Pro Shops, along others, is a major benefactor.

This is the way it should be!   Business, the community and the college working together to provide a cost-free education to deserving students.

Until next time.


  1. What a great idea! Learning to be self sufficient, get a degree, and no student debt. More colleges should be like this!

  2. Beautiful college the furnitionings are also beautiful. I like the free tuition and having the students earn their way.

  3. Why can't more colleges be like this one I am totally in favor of working for the degree. So many lessons our young people can learn from this experience.
    The furniture is gorgeous.