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Educate yourself.  Work hard.  Save Money.  

If you are going to limit your college debt, you must educate yourself about the processes it takes to navigate the Financial Aid system.  And then you better be willing to roll up your sleeves and really work to earn Scholarships..   The average American College Graduate leaves school with close to $35,000 of debt.  If that is you, plan on a monthly loan re-payment burden of between $370 and $400 for ten years.  Calculated at 5% interest per year (and that is low compared to bank loans), your final cost of $44,000, includes $9000 in interest payments.

And remember as of September 1, 2016 this is merely the Average.  Your situation could be far worse.  Or better.

Fear Not.  Knowledge is Power.  To overcome the college debt trap, educate yourself as to the types of Loans and State and Federal Aid available to you.   Secondly apply for Scholarships. Consult with Mr. Frechen and Mr. Wood and your counselors.  Call Financial Aid at the college you are considering.  Talk with your parents.  Then make wise proactive decisions based on  what is best for your future.

This Page (this entire website) will provide you useful tools.  Take your time…first watch the two ten minute movies below.  That should wake you up.  Then check out the Blendspace of Professional NPR podcasts that deal with “Careers, College and Apprenticeships.”   Finally, make sure that you are well aware of all of terms noted in stop #5.   The understanding of each is essential to you navigating the Financial Aid challenge.

Then move into the rest of the website.  Open eyes.  Open mind.  Shirt sleeves rolled up ready to rock.

Stop #1 – “Voices of Debt” (10:21)  – This professionally made film interviews dozens of college students with one thought in mind – College Debt.   The movie is poignant and at times emotional.  It certainly is eye-opening.  If  your weren’t aware of the problem of college debt prior to watching this video, you certainly will be afterward.

Stop #2 – ” Scholarship Tips from OHS Students” (9:50).  Created by Mr. Wood in 2010, this video deals with Scholarships and how to get them.  While it is a couple of years old the message is on point.  In addition, each of the five girls featured in the film have since graduated college and are moving into successful career fields.   The movie provides the best advice I have seen anywhere on the web at how to go about Applying for Scholarships.  Watch and learn.

Stop #3 – “Careers, College, and Apprenticeships” A Blendspace production –  Go here for the link.  A vital focus of Economics at Oakridge High School is  life after graduation.  That means you need to set career goals and have plans on how to get there well before you get your high school diploma.  We use National Public Radio broadcasts to enhance that awareness.  Go to the link noted above, you will find over thirty reliable and informative podcasts, from NPR, Market Place, and The World, organized into a Blendspace.  Listen and Learn.

Stop #4 –  Learning the Trades. Go here for a blendspace link.  In the Spring of 2017 Mr. Wood’s Economic’s class in an effort to focus on the Trades, began a series to bring Trade Apprentices into the school to talk with students about Life in the Trades.  Beginning Fall of 2017 we intend to treat the Trades with the same respect and focus as College Representatives; we will bring in representatives to talk with interested students.  Seminars will take place in the library and sign ups in counseling center.  Stay tuned for dates – open to all juniors and seniors.  Until then check the Blendspace linked above to better acquaint yourself with the Trades.

Stop #5 – Loans, Terms, and College Aid Programs.  Go here for blog link.   Another focus of our Economics “Building Human Capital” study will consist of understanding all programs dealing with college funding available to you at the State and Federal level.  It is essential that you familiarize yourself with all of the relevant terms. Mr. Wood has provide you podcasts that clarify each of these terms.  Know them for Econ; more importantly know them for life.

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