Letters to the Editor

LIZ SERPA: Marry hard work, education for debt-free future

On a recent short vacation through the Ozarks going to Branson, Mo., we stumbled upon the most innovative college format that I had ever seen, and I thought this concept was worth sharing.

The College of the Ozarks, also known as "Hard Work U," has a work education program in place that involves all the students working for a debt-free education.

While the College of the Ozarks had a sprawling campus, the concept of working through college on a campus work program struck a note with me, and I thought why not in Mississippi?

Using TripAdvisor to find the best restaurant, we found a restaurant called Dobyns Dining Room, and the reviews were excellent.

Dobyns Dining Room is a working restaurant on campus where students take turns working in many capacities and, in all actuality, they were running the restaurant.

In addition to this restaurant, there are 90 work stations throughout the campus.

Many work areas were available and appealed to individual interests -- landscaping, custodian work, housekeeping or running a gift shop, and they also have an inn on campus that generates even more jobs.

This is how "Hard Work U" operates.

Just by working 15 hours a week on campus, plus one 40-hour week for each semester, they are paying their way through school.

This college is a private liberal arts college and also receives endowments and gifts from friends throughout the nation, but don't most colleges?

While I mentioned that this college was on a sprawling campus, I can see work programs in place on any campus allowing a portion, or all of the student population, a way to pay for their tuition.

We could start small and then grow into a "Hard Work U." What do you say, Mississippi?