Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but for many Ozarks Technical Community College students, breakfast is a luxury they can’t afford. In January of 2021, the college debuted a free breakfast program. Eagle Breakfast was a no-cost meal at Café 101 for any OTC student on the Springfield campus. Based on data, which shows Eagle Breakfast participants performed better during the spring semester than their counterparts, OTC will continue Eagle Breakfast for the 2021-22 school year.
Student affairs leadership had the idea for a complimentary breakfast program for OTC students, but the college was never financially able to make it a reality. When COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the fall and spring student picnics, there was money available for a pilot program.
During the 2021 spring semester, 635 students took advantage of Eagle Breakfast, including 231 Pell Grant recipients (federal financial aid reserved for the most under-resourced students) and 45 veteran students. Eagle Breakfast participants received, on average, ten meals during the semester. Participants had the option of an entrée and a drink. Based on survey comments from the end of the semester, the program was extremely popular.
- “The Eagle Breakfast was a lifesaver several mornings…fast, easy, convenient, and helped me get breakfast on the days my account was lean.”
- “I felt that I utilized my time better on the days that I went to eat breakfast at the college. I took time to work on homework while I ate the free breakfast. It honestly was a blessing for many reasons! I was more productive because I had a good breakfast each morning, and I found myself looking forward to going to class.”
Students who took advantage of Eagle Breakfast persisted in their courses and earned better grades than students who did not.
- 89% of Eagle Breakfast participants completed their spring classes compared to 83% of other OTC students.
- 78% of Eagle Breakfast participants achieved a C or better in all of their courses compared to 73% of other OTC students.
“Many of our students are awake before the sun to make it to class, and they don’t have time to eat anything,” said Dr. Joan Barrett, vice chancellor for student affairs. “If something as simple as a breakfast sandwich and a bottle of juice can help our students succeed, I’d say that’s a program worth keeping.”
Beginning with the start of the fall semester on August 23, students may select from the items marked with the “Eagle Breakfast” insignia in Café 101 between 7:30-8:30 a.m. when classes are in session. When the student checks out and shows their OTC ID, the Eagle Breakfast items will be complimentary.