Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek

Davidson's Debt-Free Students

  1. Grants Instead of Loans
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    Grants Instead of Loans

    Davidson College is not the only school to remove student loans from its financial aid packages. Yet it stands out as an especially intriguing model, with fewer students and a much smaller endowment than, say, an Ivy League school. Here, nine students share their experience.

    Sarah Fisher

    Hometown: Fredericksburg, Va.

    Major: Sociology concentration: medical humanities

    Post-graduation plans: Health-care law/ethics

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Law school

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: A combination of scholarships, grants, and a work-study

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: My current field hockey roster picture. Sorry, Mom!

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  2. Tianna Butler
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    Tianna Butler

    Hometown: Salisbury, Md.

    Major: English

    Post-graduation plans: I would like to either teach for two years and then go to graduate school, or attend seminary right after I graduate.

    Where do you expect to be in five years? I expect (or hope, at least) to be working at a job I greatly enjoy while changing the lives of people in my community.

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: About $39,000

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: My parents have already found out everything I hoped they never would :)

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  3. Joanna Ramirez
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    Joanna Ramirez

    Hometown: Concord, N.C.

    Major: English

    Post-graduation plans: Medical school

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Residency in a hospital

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: Yes

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: I accidentally blew out the speakers in my car senior year of high school.

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  4. Josh Hengen
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    Josh Hengen

    Hometown: Pikesville, Md.

    Major: Environmental studies, with a minor in Arabic

    Post-graduation plans: Teach for America; travel in the Middle East

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Finished higher education and with a job that includes either speaking Arabic or working with children

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: $18,000 or roughly 1/3 of expenses.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: Jumped off a 60-foot cliff into a lake while hiking in Maine (more Davidson-related: drove to the western North Carolina mountains for Easter last spring).

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  5. J.D. Merrill
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    J.D. Merrill

    Hometown: Baltimore

    Major: Educational policy studies

    Post-graduation plans: Teach high school social studies

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Hopefully, still in a high school

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: None. Scholarship recipient.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: This is going in a magazine, right?

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  6. Rodney Saunders Jr.
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    Rodney Saunders Jr.

    Hometown: Wilmington, Del.

    Major: Theatre

    Post-graduation plans: Pursuing careers in both playwriting and screenwriting

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Working in the arts in the Midwest (ideally Chicago or the Twin Cities)

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: The majority of my tuition is covered by the Davidson Trust.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: I was the "bartender" for my own 21st birthday party. (I don't know what else to think of.)

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  7. Paul Van Peursem
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    Paul Van Peursem

    Hometown: Augusta, Ga.

    Major: Economics

    Post-graduation plans: Find a paying job! Hopefully one where I can integrate economic analysis or knowledge into my day-to-day work. My dream city would be Seattle—but I'm not sure if anyone there even knows that Davidson College exists!

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Somehow involved in city planning or urban/economic development. So many cities in the U.S. don't know how to leverage economics to help ameliorate urban problems, and I'd love to be able to use my passion to do something constructive. Nonprofit consulting would be another job I'd love.

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: About $30,000 to $35,000 a year has been provided by the Trust. It hasn't paid for everything, but there's no way I could be here without it. Having to pay for some on my own makes me feel a sense of responsibility for my education, but a gift like the Davidson Trust motivates me to appreciate all aspects of campus life while I am here.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: How much beer I actually consumed at Oktoberfest in Munich, while I was studying abroad.

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  8. Elaine Klaiklung
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    Elaine Klaiklung

    Hometown: Charlotte

    Major: Sociology

    Post-graduation plans: Teach English abroad in Asia for a couple of years before graduate school

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Probably in school, either pursuing a master's in sociology or visual communications

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: The vast majority of my education was paid for by the Trust.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: I have developed a nail polish hoarding problem since my freshman year. When I was in high school, I wasn't allowed to wear nail polish; now I have over 40 bottles of polish in my dorm room!

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek
  9. Cidney Michelle Holliday
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    Cidney Michelle Holliday

    Hometown: Charlotte, by way of Denver and Little Rock

    Major: Undecided (Africana studies)

    Post-graduation plans: Grad school or law school

    Where do you expect to be in five years? Still writing, still fighting, still loving, still learning

    Funding received from Davidson Trust: Not exactly sure on the entire amount, but I know it's the main reason I can afford to attend Davidson College.

    Name something you did that you hope your parents never discover: Well, my mom found out anyway, but I defiantly do not have perfect attendance anymore :)

    Photograph by Shane McCauley for Bloomberg Businessweek