Welcome! We introduce CPAP – the FREE Comprehensive Preparatory Assistance Program.
Updated and expanded for 2021 and beyond, it’s helped hundreds of students and their families learn about preparing and setting up for success. If you’re looking to go to a full-time college, a 2-year college, or technical school or get certified training, CPAP can help. It’s that simple.
Meanwhile, here are some helpful topics to help you get ready for the next step on your educational experience journey.
College or Other Options: A Guide to Help You Choose
It’s back to school time!
From the highest level of education leadership to parents and students, the discussions about the best way to re-enter the classroom or continue to use the new virtual classroom is still in debate.
As unsettling as it was last year during the pandemic, the attempts to adapt to a new system that required meshing a new virtual teaching environment with getting back into the traditional classrooms setting has caused a major revamp at every level of the educational system.
Ironically, for those who have been “home schooled”, it’s not quite the big deal. Which brings the question: why is the new normal so hard to figure out?
With no uniform code for all school districts, we saw the distress it caused for those who were trying to maintain their academic progress, and even more so with the high school seniors who depended on the system to help them matriculate to the next level on time.
During the debate, more alternative programs begin to develop to assist students to navigate the ever- increasing challenges of staying on track. The Comprehensive Preparation Assistance Program (CPAP) is designed to help make the decision-making and problem solving a lot easier with our easy-to-use step by step program, led by a team of well qualified advisors.
Where do you start to get some answers? Let’s look at some of the vital facts that can help you begin to formalize the best plan for you.
Going into the 2021-22 year, here's what the average yearly tuition and fees look like:
• Public two-year college (in-district students): $3,770
• Public four-year college (in-state students): $10,560
• Public four-year college (out-of-state students): $27,020
• Private four-year college ($37,6501)
Student Loans: The Good and the Bad
This year was no different than most as we have witnessed, even though the extra layer of anxiety due to the Covid 19 pandemic almost disrupted the process most students have experienced in the past.
We have talked with many parents and students about their chances of getting into the schools of their choice and with a financial crisis affecting their decisions, they tend to opt for the routine loan process. The only option they may seek is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which determines your financial aid you can get through the government aid programs like the Pell Grant (which for the 2019–20 academic year, individual students can only receive a maximum of $6,195). Here’s where you must find other sources from grants, loans and philanthropic organizations.
Going to college debt-free is possible though! The Comprehensive Preparation Assistance Program (CPAP) can help you to find out how.
No matter which college route you choose, it’s expensive
Finding ways to offset the cost is the biggest challenge today. You don’t have to compromise your dream if you have the necessary tools to implement a successful plan that fits your situation.
Besides the “normal” choice of taking out student loans, you can build a financial portfolio if you maintain a high grade standard and focus on achieving your goals. CPAP can be a part of the solution.
Based on the Federal Reserve Figures
• Student debt soared over $1.7 trillion.
• The average student debt per graduate reached a record high of $38,792 in 2020.
• About 44 million students are in debt.
• On the average, it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to repay student loans. (depending on the repayment plan and loan amount).
With such a overwhelming amount of debt right right of full-time college (whether you graduate or not), it may cause some to reconsider other alternatives to achieve another mean of getting a employment opportunity or career.
Commonly asked Questions
If you are fortunate enough to not have to worry about the cost of attending college, you can check off that box.
The really high achievers – academic and athletic – can be exempt from this dilemma altogether. They are among the elite who have multiple offers and that may be their hardest decision to make.
For most, when considering a college, the foremost question might be- can I afford to the tuition (and other expenses like room and board, meal plans, etc.). The highest college tuition in the country tops out at over 77,000 per year, while there are some in the lowest brackets (under 10,000 per year).
Don’t be misled by the margin that exists, the defining factor is you can still get a quality education and a lot depends on the academic and athletic standards some schools manage to maintain despite the lower costs to attend.
But keep in mind, full-time colleges can still be costly. But, it can be achievable if you use the right tools to amass the funding you need.
Other factors to include are geographic locations (do you want to stay close to home or enjoy the more adventurous routes?)
Don’t let the sticker shock discourage you. Depending on your career aspirations, there are many options to consider. While full-time college might seem out of reach, there are other options to getting ahead in life.
Like they say, at the end of the day, your top priority should be to find a school you can afford.
And don’t overlook the positives of getting a bachelor, master or PhD. These standards are very much needed in certain disciplines that lead to leadership and other status.
Community colleges are a great choice for some who don’t want to spend four years in a classroom. Community colleges offer more than just two-year degrees.
More and more people are attending community colleges because they provide a good return on investment. They are less expensive and allows students to develop skills in a wide variety of fields that can be a stepping stone to great employment. Students get also pursue valuable college credits on their way to a full-time degree at a lesser cost than a four-year school right out of high school.
Please note: while affordable, a community college education may lack a bit of the prestigious, credential and higher education opportunity provided by a four-year university.
No longer are tech schools offering marginal entry level job training. For those who are tech savvy or seek certifications, technical schools can lead to a lucrative career and employment.
Most states have a flagship school where most of the academic research happens, and several other schools where the focus is more on teaching. The smaller schools tend to have names indicating where they’re located in the state. These “directional” schools not only focus more on your child’s classroom experience, but also have cheaper tuition and fees. That’s a win-win.
Trade schools have expanded the level of skill training as the global workplace has increased middle and blue collar opportunities to make great salaries.
Students gain hands on experience in highly desired skills like electrical work, mechanics, plumbing, home inspections and much more can get valuable training that’s in high demand.
A great caveat is it takes less time and less money than getting a college degree.
Without planning or scholarship availability, in most cases it can create a financial burden for students who make the choice to attend a full-time or any other level of post secondary education.
While a college education is worth it, you don’t want to acquire any debt that will hinder your ability to enjoy the fruit of your labor in the future.
Family resources that are budgeted for specific purposes is always the best and wisest approach to paying for college.
Setting up a saving plan is a great option if your parents can afford it. But, there are many options available beginning with a student maintaining a high Grade Point Average.
Academic and athletic recruiters at every level look for high achievers to offer scholarships to.
It’s a fact that what you gain from college is based on how much you choose to make out of your time there, not the cost of attending. You can gain just as much or more knowledge, skill, and experience at a state college than someone who attend a top 20 school.
The college you attend doesn’t determine your future success; finishing college debt-free is a huge advantage for you.
Fact 1. Everyone who wants to attend college must fill out what’s known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Schools use this to figure out how much money they can offer a student toward attendance, what kinds of aid you qualify for and more.
What you should know:
Fact 2. The FAFSA must be completed each school year by the student/family.
The types of aid it covers include:
• Federal grants
• Work-study programs
• State aid
• and school aid
All of the above is worth considering if needed, which can also cover any loans, if necessary, but not recommended).
Fact 3. A benefit of FAFSA is there is no income limit to be eligible for financial aid, so you never know how much your child could get until you apply!
Fact 4. The FAFSA does have a deadline that can vary by state and school, so check the official FAFSA website (and the preferred college’s website) to see when the form needs to be submitted.
Once submitted, you will get an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) estimating how much your family can afford to pay for college. Colleges review those numbers and send an award letter stating what kind of financial aid you may qualify for.
Fact 5. Always read the fine print!
Make sure you are being offered a scholarship or grant—not a loan.
Fact 5. Most colleges will continue to offer financial aid throughout the students’ college career, so they should fill out the form every year!
A caveat: Keep your GPA up!
Fact 6. Depending on your financial need and the schools you consider, your child may be able to cover their education entirely through grants and/or aid from your state or the school itself. We’ll talk more about grants below.
For now, just remember that all financial aid is awarded only to students who fill out their FAFSA.
Scholarships are one of your family’s most powerful tools in the journey to cover school without loans because they’re funds you earn and never have to pay back!
Show me the money! is a popular slogan that people use to express their approach to resolving a financial crisis.
On the positive side, some students have embraced a winning approach to securing their future without the stress and burden of debt.
What did they do? They put in a lot of hard work and time. And, they made it seem like fun because the rewards were impressive, resulting in millions of dollars in scholarship awards due to their dedicated focus on following these simple steps.
1. Search and research.
Treat the application process was if it were a job. Parents should encourage a student to be tenacious about this. Going to school debt-free is serious business, and the rewards show up in the form of award letters and that’s a good feeling!
2. It is never too soon to start this search.
Schedule a time each day/week to search for and fill out applications for every school you have on your preferred list (and a few more!).
CPAP has a wealth of information in one place that you can browse through thousands of scholarships and grants.
While the internet is your friend, you may not have the time to scour through hundreds of websites to find what you need. Again, CPAP has done the heavy lifting for you.
Use it! Don’t be afraid of doing frequent searches.
There are new scholarships and deadlines added frequently so stay on top of this.
3. Be prepared to write some essays. This tells the story of your personal experiences and career goals and is a vital part of the process! Here is where you want to make a impact on recruiters who eye this as a first impression. The best essays get the most weight in determining whether you get a second look.
4. Other scholarship sources
These may include your parents’ workplace which offers scholarships for the children of employees.
Local community groups, businesses, churches and charities offer scholarships which are often awarded on the basis of community service or high school GPA.
Philanthropy and non-profits can offer significant scholarships.
Here again, we’re talking about free money you do NOT have to pay back—which is the preferred kind of aid.
There are tons of grants that are available by schools, organizations, churches, philanthropies and federal assistance programs based on your financial need.
Once your completed FAFSA application is approved, you’ll receive a list of the federal grants you’re eligible for.
The four types of federal grants are:
• Federal Pell Grants
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)( a grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.)
• Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants (The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.)
• State grant agencies.
See CPAP repository for all your searches.
Work-Study (Federal or school) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education. (Off campus part-time jobs can be an option, too).
A work-study program offers students part-time employment in exchange for financial aid.
The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
Some of the advantages of a work-study job:
It is a way for students to pay for a debt-free education while they’re in school, even while they may be waiting to find out if they’re eligible through FAFSA.
• You Keep What You Earn. While you have to pay student loans back with interest, work-study earnings are yours to keep
• Your Paycheck Won’t Affect Financial Aid Eligibility
• Work-Study Jobs Are Convenient. Work-study jobs are usually (but not always) on campus, which makes them a convenient way to combine work with schoolwork.
The Reward Is More Than Just Financial
Research found a certain amount of work outside the classroom or library actually boosts academic performance.
Students working a part-time job (less than 20 hours a week) often have better grades than those who aren’t employed.
There’s no limit to the number of ways your child can earn money if they have a valuable skill, hobby or artistic knack they can turn into a marketable product. Think about crafts, clothing design, barbering, music lessons, and tutoring.
For most college freshmen, most colleges require first-year students to live on campus for the first semester and, in some cases, the full academic year. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may decide to live off campus which presents pros and cons to living on campus vs. off campus.
The decision you make depends on your interests and lifestyle.
Typically, students who live on campus do better academically than students who don’t. They also stay in college and graduate at a higher rate than students who don’t live on campus.
• It’s convenient to everything.
Campus housing is close to events, classes, faculty, and to academic and support services.
• Better Grades
Typically, students who live on campus do better academically than students who don’t. They also stay in college and graduate at a higher rate than students who don’t live on campus.
• Extra Safety Measures
Residence halls are secure all day, every day.
• Personal Development
Just by living on campus, you will learn problem-solving skills, you will learn about social justice, as well as sustainable practices to follow.
• Caring staff
Caring, trained and professional staff care about each student’s experience at
Staff members also provide resources, support, and programming to enhance your college experience.
• Combined bill and payment options
Your housing charges will be included on your university bill.
• Wireless everywhere!
You can work or play on your devices anywhere in the residence halls at no extra cost.
Having a solid plan in place can be a blessing for a student and their family. Setting up a college student budget, it pays to have a plan in place to track your spending. A college budget that accounts for textbooks, housing and other expenses can cut stress and overspending. It can also shape healthy financial habits for the future.
4 steps to creating a college budget:
1. Discuss a budget plan with your parents or whoever is responsible for expected expenses and financial aid. Opening a new credit card or checking account is an option.
2. Expenses. Tabulate the costs of textbooks and school supplies, room and board, transportation, clothing, and discretionary spending.
3. Keep track of your spending. Monitor your spending. Determine your needs and decide which nonessentials you can trim.
4. Take budgeting to the next level. There is an invaluable lesson in learning how best to start setting yourself up for the future by managing your budget.
You will begin to really take ownership of your college experience when you understand how much the monthly output in terms of food, transportation, clothing and rent can add up.
Do your best to create an emergency fund, for example, or how you can begin to pay off any student loans, if applicable.
Last, you gain some insight into why taking the easy way out by getting school loans is not the best route to go.
Future Jobs and great careers
College degrees offer a pathway to career opportunities and unlimited earning potential. However, the surging global workplace has rapidly expanded and provides for more technical skills opportunities. Learning innovations like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), have opened up more opportunities for far-rearching student participation.
How the future is shaping up.
Some of the top full-time college degrees and certifications:
• Computer Science
• Business Administration
• Sociology/Social Work
• History/Political Science
Some of the top community college degrees and certifications:
- Air Traffic Controllers
- Radiation Therapists
- Nuclear Technicians
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists
- Dental Hygienists
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- Cardiovascular Technologists
Technical colleges offer a unique education experience for those who seek alternative options to going to college.
- Air traffic controller
- Radiation therapist
- Nuclear technician
- Nuclear medicine technologist
- Dental hygienist
- Web developer
- Electrical and electronics engineering technician
- Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians
Students (and adults who are looking to improve their quality of workmanship) find themselves deciding whether to go to college or join the workforce. Vocational schools offer top training in a variety of skills without the high cost of regular college expenses.
- Licensed practical nurse
- HVAC technician
- Home inspector
- Landscape designer
- Respiratory therapist
Black College Sports & Education Foundation – the gateway to
unlimited access to Historically
Black Colleges and Universities.
We offer a free Comprehensive Preparatory Assistance Program .
Provide a seamless transition for prospective students and athletes who wish to attend an HBCU.
Support the preservation of HBCUs through promotion and recruitment.