Home » NYTimes.com | OPINION: Work colleges teach students that communities need all their members to pick up a shovel and participate

NYTimes.com | OPINION: Work colleges teach students that communities need all their members to pick up a shovel and participate

Alice Lloyd College.

Most days I space out at some point and travel in my mind to a place called Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Ky. It doesn’t hurt that its founder and I, no relation, have the same name and that I happen to have a postcard picture of its Appalachian campus pinned over my desk. But Alice Lloyd lends itself to reverie. It’s one of those seemingly miraculous communities that make something uncommonly close to full use of all their members.

There are nearly 10 of them: Private four-year schools known as work colleges, where students put in mandatory hours each week as a complement to their course loads. Through a combination of grants, donations, endowments and hourly wages, work colleges ask for less in fees than any comparable schools and leave their graduates with lighter debt loads. They also keep every student meaningfully occupied, in roles that range from chaplain to dishwasher.

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