It was dinner on your own for the Davidson family, when all six members of the close-knit Bismarck family first enrolled at Bismarck State College.
“I do miss dinner time,” said daughter Meagan.
While the “Davidson dorm” may not have had a meal plan per se, it had plenty of benefits. The parents took care of the groceries. Mom Bridget took the lead on family laundry most weekends. Everyone had their own room. With the whole family balancing school and work, camaraderie abounded.
Here’s the backstory:
Meagan, Lexus and Amanda are triplets; Petra is the youngest daughter.
All of the girls had part time jobs. Bridget and dad Micah both worked full time. Bridget worked at Legacy High School in Bismarck; Micah in technology for the Bismarck Public Schools. All six were full-time BSC students, at the same time.
While the Davidsons didn’t get any BOGO deals at BSC, living at home kept their costs down, as did the number of family members enrolled. Household income is generally the biggest factor in determining the financial aid options for a student, but the number of people in the house and the number of people attending college weigh in when it comes to financial aid.
“The more family members in college, the greater grant assistance available – that includes North Dakota grants as well as Pell Grants,” BSC Financial Aid Director Scott Lingen said.
No one in the family had a student loan. The girls earned a number of scholarships from the BSC Foundation and elsewhere. All the Davidsons qualified for Pell or other grants.
The girls agreed that paying their own way was both worth it, and a path that ensured they value their education.
“I think it’s better that I pay for my own college. I take it more seriously and try harder to get good grades,” said Lexus.
“I feel like you do better if paying for yourself,” said Amanda.
College was not on the radar when Bridget graduated from Shiloh in 1995. Instead, she went to work, then married, and within a couple years was a mother of four little girls. Micah attended college for a year before joining the Air Force, but becoming a father of four in a short timeframe meant earning a living trumped attending college.
When the older three enrolled, Bridget said “I just thought ‘can I go to college?’ It was a new idea for me.”
Micah, who had begun taking online cybersecurity classes already, encouraged her. “I’d tried college when they were young and that did not work. This does,” he said.
The family’s various studies were a cross section of BSC’s many program offerings – Micah in web development and cybersecurity; Bridget working toward her associate degree, with plans to go on for a business degree; Petra in mass communications; Lexus in early childhood education; Meagan in graphic design; and Amanda in business with plans to open a bed and breakfast someday.
The family agreed that Bridget’s was the most stressed-out student in the house. “She makes me nervous!” said Amanda who had an Algebra class with her mom. Their teacher, Michael Kern, associate professor of mathematics, said the mother and daughter were good, conscientious students who always got their work done. “You don’t see a mother and daughter in a classroom very often. It’s cool to see how well they get along.”
The family’s busy and varied schedules meant all six were rarely in one place at one time. Each day this family of students went their separate ways knowing they’d see each other later, at home.
For more information about specialized career paths for adults interested in college, visit our Adult Students page. For general information about BSC and to apply, visit bismarckstate.edu.