Friday, June 20, 2008

Higher Ed and Hard Work

We at San Elijo College are looking for market driven solutions to the high cost of higher education. One of the ways in which this seems to have been successful is through a robust work/study program. There are a couple of schools in the country with this model:

At SEC, however, we are not primarily focused on a specific region or constituency as is Berea, nor do we have the sizeable endowment which allows College of the Ozarks to pay their students directly, and while there are dairy cows, horses and chickens in Harmony Grove and Elfin Forest, just down the road, San Elijo Hills is not a working cattle ranch like Deep Springs.

Ideally, we want to fully endow each faculty position and have the college essentially tuition free. However, we recognize, from our own experience in college, that practical work experience is invaluable. While we admire the cloistered life of many colleges, we also recognize, as did Plato the value of "trudging down" to rule in the world. We believe that partnering with local business to employ SEC students will allow each student to have high ideals and an ethic that comes from hard work.

A friend of the College introduced us to the Cristo Rey model for work/study which allows students to pay for a great deal of their tuition through an innovative job-sharing and employee leasing program. We think that this might be a feasible program for the college to offset tuition or living expenses.

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