Best Free College

Baling hay, milking cows and hitting the books.

from Reader's Digest Magazine | May 2004

No kidding. California’s Deep Springs College offers a two-year liberal arts education for free, provided students don’t mind baling hay, milking cows and slaughtering hogs when they’re not hitting the books. The school’s 26 self-governing students (all male, average SAT 1500) come to this working cattle ranch and alfalfa farm for the starkly beautiful desert surroundings, the promise of improving body, mind and spirit, and for the opportunities. After graduation, most Deep Springs alums make their way to top four-year schools like Harvard and Yale — where, we assume, the term “bull session” will have a whole new meaning.

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