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Higher learning: Money ... That’s what they want

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Three Franklin seniors considering where they want to go to college all know they need more money.

Mercedes Davis, Jamie Price and Kevin Stahl received mailers and other information from colleges before beginning their senior year at Franklin Community High School in August. They started talking with their parents and guidance counselors about where they wanted to go and what those colleges and universities would cost and realized they needed to find ways to pay for it.

The three are narrowing their college options, which include Indiana University, Purdue University, Butler University and a few out-of-state colleges.

They’ll have to pay at least $20,000 per year to attend a state college, and that figure likely will rise if they attend a private university or head to another state. And they’ll have to repay any money they borrow with interest.

So they plan to spend the rest of the school year applying for as many scholarships as possible.

“Our goal is to take the least amount of loans out, so you don’t have that much debt when you’re out of college. Because that’s scary,” Price said.

They will need to submit applications to some colleges by Nov. 1 in order to have a chance at qualifying for scholarships based on their grades and extracurricular activities.

All three plan to apply for local scholarships offered by groups such as the Johnson County Community Foundation and for need-based scholarships. Davis and Price think they’ll also be able to cover part of the cost of college through grants and funding they’ll receive due to their families’ special circumstances — Davis’ dad is a disabled veteran, and Price’s father is disabled and can’t work because of back problems.

None of the students’ families has been able to save enough to cover the roughly $80,000 cost of four years at IU or Purdue. Stahl’s family has tried to save for college expenses, but it was difficult to set aside the full cost of college for more than one child, he said.

All three students hope the clubs and activities they’ve been a part of, both in and outside school, will help them earn more money to cover tuition, housing and college costs.

Price, who works on many of the high school’s broadcasting projects, wants to create videos she can use to apply for some scholarships. And Davis said she hopes that the hours she’s spent volunteering, such as at Franklin Memorial Christian Church, will encourage colleges or community groups to invest in her education.

Davis, Price and Stahl weren’t thinking about how their volunteering or participation in clubs would help them pay their way through college when they joined the groups. But now all three hope to see some kind of financial return.

“Any penny I can save is great,” Davis said.

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