Investing in students’ futures

This is a short video about a new program at a university in the U.S. (Purdue, in Indiana) that aims to shift the risk of student loan debt from the student to the university. Basically, the students promise to pay the university a small percentage of their future income after graduation instead of having student loans — with interest rates — that burden them regardless of what happens after graduation.

On the PBS site, the video has a written transcript below it, and the subtitles are correct if you need them to help your listening comprehension.

Some related statistics (from this site):

  • There’s $1.45 trillion in student debt in the US right now.
  • The average amount a student has to repay in total is $37,000 (which is 6% more than it was last year).
  • The average amount a student has to repay per month is $351.
  • Interest rates on paying back student loans range from about 2.7% to 8.2%.

There are many issues to debate with a program like Purdue’s, but as someone who finally paid off her student loans — with interest rates at about 4 or 5% —  for undergraduate and graduate school in her 30s, I wish I’d at least had this option.

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“A shift, a change in momentum”

The Autumn Sumo Tournament is starting this weekend. I happened across these two videos, which I enjoyed and even if you don’t know much about sumo (I love that I know the names of many of these rikishi, having been a sumo fan for the past couple of years and been to two tournaments at the Kokugikan in Tokyo) you may enjoy them too.

One focuses on the rikishi coming to and leaving the tournament. There’s no speaking, just a rather beautiful audio track, and it gets us thinking about tradition and modern conveniences.

The second one focuses on what the rikishi can do after they retire, especially the less successful ones. It’s rather bittersweet. Most of the speaking is in Japanese, with English subtitles, so it’s a good chance to focus on language similarities and differences.

I really liked the attitude of the rikishi who opened a restaurant. He has no regrets, he says.

“To make the best and not to waste everything the past.”

“It’s not an end. It’s a shift, a change in momentum.”

“People in order”

More interesting than statistics? The real people behind them.

Here are three videos showing people “in order” — the first is 48 couples in order of the length of their relationship. The second is 100 people in order of age. The third is 73 households in order of income. I would really like to see a student create something like this to show the world more of Japan.

If you love animals…

The Dodo is a website “for animal people”. If you love animals, you’ll find videos in three different categories: pets, farm animals, and wild animals.

Here’s the video I saw on Twitter yesterday that made me want to visit the site:

And speaking of shelter dogs, there’s a TV show on in the US called “Downward Dog”. Here’s the trailer. We can’t watch the series on the ABC site over here because of annoying international rights agreements, but maybe it’ll show up on Netflix Japan or Hulu Japan, if you’re using either of those to stream TV and movies.