Christian values and character, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U” experience. At a time when there is much talk about what is wrong with the nation, College of the Ozarks exemplifies what is right with America.
C of O is committed to its founding mission of providing a quality, Christian education to those who are found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to obtain such training. Instead of paying tuition, all full-time students work campus jobs to defray the cost of education. Upon complete participation in the Work Education Program, the College guarantees to meet the entire cost of education for students, allowing them the opportunity to graduate debt-free. The College openly discourages debt by not participating in any federal, state, or private loan programs and leads by example through having no institutional debt of any kind.
The College of the Ozarks began as a dream. In 1905, young Presbyterian missionary James Forsythe was assigned to serve the southwest Missouri region. When he arrived, he saw that the young people were in desperate need of education. Forsythe expressed to the Missouri Synod of the Presbyterian Church his dream of a school that would provide a quality, Christian education to young people who would, in exchange, work to help the school operate.
Forsythe’s dream came true in 1906 when The School of the Ozarks was established and was granted a charter by the State of Missouri for the purpose of “providing Christian education for youth of both sexes, especially those found worthy but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.”
Originally, the purpose of The School was to provide an opportunity for a high school education for young people of the Ozarks plateau. 50 years However, in 1956, The School of the Ozarks added two years of junior college to the four-year high school program. In 1964, the Board voted to expand the two-year program into a four-year liberal arts program.
The four-year college program began in September 1965, and was given preliminary accreditation by the North Central Association that same year. In August 1971, The School was granted full-accreditation by the North Central Association.
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