How does debt-free education work?

College with No Tuition formula chart

Cost of Education Scholarship

Each student participates in the on-campus work program for 15 hours per week and two forty-hour work weeks per school year.

Credits from participation in the work program, any federal and/or state aid for which students qualify, and the C of O Cost of Education Scholarship combine to cover the Cost of Education.

There are no student loans involved and there is no cash due from students for Cost of Education: Only good, solid, hard work. All C of O students are given the opportunity to graduate debt-free.

Fire department student worker in front of the firehouse

Cost of education

The Cost of Education is the cost to the College for providing an educational opportunity for each student. Most institutions pass along a portion of this cost as tuition; this is not the case at College of the Ozarks. This allows C of O students to graduate debt-free.

Students seating on the grass and chatting in front of Lake Honor

Unique in Higher Education

Friends of the College believe in and support what our unique institution stands for: Hard work, Christian values, freedom from debt, and higher education in a Christian setting. Their contributions enable the College to provide Cost of Education scholarships.

When you accept an offer of admission to College of the Ozarks, you make a commitment to uphold the standards of an institution that is different from the norm. Drinking and partying are not acceptable at C of O, and unwholesome attire is not the standard. 

We believe you will learn and grow as a Christian at C of O, and as a future professional member of the work force. While many have chosen to lower standards, at C of O we adhere to high personal standards; standards that we believe equip students to become successful contributors to society.

The C of O Cost of Education Scholarship is special because it comes from friends who believe in the College, and believe in you.


Cost of Education for students who receive federal and state aid (2021-2022)
  Cost of Education* $19,500
  C of O Work Program -6,244
  Pell Grant (if eligible) 0 to -6,495
  Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (if eligible) -4,000
  Missouri State Grants (if eligible) -1,500
  C of O Cost of Education Scholarship   0 to -13,256
  Cash Cost to Student $0.00
Cost of Education for students who do not receive federal and state aid (2021-2022)
  Cost of Education* $19,500
  C of O Work Program -6,244
  C of O Cost of Education Scholarship   -13,256
  Cash Cost to Student $0.00

*Does not include room and board, books or Health/Technology/Services fees. Please see the Costs webpage for more information on these expenses.


Part-time students pay a fee of $310 per credit hour.

Graduate holding a diploma

No Loans

College of the Ozarks discourages student borrowing, and therefore, does not participate in the federal, state or private loan programs. Other alternatives such as scholarships and the Summer Work Program should be considered to pay for educational expenses. Off-campus work can also be found in the local area as well.  However, freshmen are not encouraged to work when classes are in session. 


This information will help you manage your debt through careful planning.

Things to Remember

Budgeting puts you in control and will help you make better decisions about financing your education.

  • Be realistic! Do not slash basic necessities,
  • Be flexible! It will not work if you are too tight or too loose,
  • Keep it simple! Don’t get so detailed that your budget becomes a chore,
  • Keep it updated.

Budgeting Steps

  1. List all of your resources such as savings, family contribution, income, scholarships, and miscellaneous.
  2. List all of your expenses such as books, supplies, fees, room & board, transportation, insurance, and personal.
  3. Subtract your expenses from your resources to calculate your remaining funds.

By increasing your income, decreasing your expenses or doing both, you may be able to pay for your educational expense.  Some educational expenses such as books and room and board are charged to your account without interest.  Making monthly payments is extremely important.  By attending College of the Ozarks our goal is to have you graduate debt-free.

Things that help

  • Summer Work Education Program (SWEP): If you apply and are eligible to work, the SWEP can provide a means to pay for your on campus room and board for the next academic year.
  • C of O Scholarships: The C of O General Scholarship Application allows students to apply for funding to help pay book, fee and room/board expenses.
  • Outside Scholarships: Consult civic groups, parents’ employer, and Internet scholarship opportunities. You may also find additional resources on our Scholarships Page.
  • Work: Internships, part-time jobs, summer and holiday work all provide extra money as well as valuable work experiences and references. The Career Center may be aware of opportunities to earn money. Some employment opportunities are for temporary work while others are for seasonal employment.  Current students can find additional information by visiting the Career Center site though Campusweb.
  • Military Science: Check with our Military Science Department about educational financing options.
  • Decrease Spending: You may need to eliminate spending money for items that are not necessary.