When Emi Young decided to attend Pomona College in California a few years ago, she broke with a tradition as closely associated with U.S. universities as fraternity parties and cramming for final exams.
Young did not take out one dime of student loans.
Moreover, she preferred Pomona to other schools because it does not include loans in the financial aid packages offered to students, solely supplying grants and student employment.
"I don't necessarily want to feel completely tied down in what I do with my education because of the debt I come out with," said the politics and philosophy major who starts her third year this fall, and has her sights set on law school.
Like many young people across the country, Young is nervous about starting her career with the baggage of debt. Last summer, a how-to guide on getting through college without loans by University of Massachusetts student Zac Bisonnette called "Debt-Free U" shot to the list of top 20 bestsellers on Amazon.com the day it was released.