There is a group of seven colleges in the United States that are members of the Work College Consortium. These colleges are united in their mission to deliver an affordable college experience, especially for first-generation college students, "by integrating work, learning and service throughout their college experience."
The proposition is simple and revolutionary: by working various college jobs for an average of 10-20 hours per week, students attend college practically tuition-free.
In addition to the benefit of graduating with little to no educational debt, students also gain valuable work experience. The work portion is as carefully supervised as the study portion, ensuring that students develop good work habits and gain valuable experience related to potential future careers.
Each college varies in its curricular focus and its approach to work opportunities. Each also works to develop a commitment to community service in each student, helping each student develop a balanced approach to learning, working, and service.
These schools can be difficult to get into. Across the seven member colleges, there are almost 5300 students, which means that there are about 1320 seats available for incoming freshmen. Some of these seats are preferentially awarded to students who have grown up locally. And the schools are serious about the students's work commitments; at some, unsatisfactory work performance can lead to dismissal.
But if you are a student who is committed to the developing your work and service identity while you are working through your next stage of academics, a work college may be for you.
The seven work Colleges are:
Shepherding our children to adulthood demands our love, our attention, and our acceptance of who they are.