Children’s Ministry: Spending Time With God

Westa.org welcomes a new contributor: The Children’s Ministry!  Join us as we share inspiration for you and your little ones to help keep them fortified in the Lord.

Before you go to school each day, remember to keep Jesus first! Start each day with a “Good Morning Jesus!” and remember to spend time with God. Also, read your Bible every day! Reading God’s Word will help you to grow into a strong Christian full of power, strength, joy, and peace.

Jesus, Our Example

Throughout Scripture, we see that Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer with the Father. Regularly, after He

Spend time with God daily.

Spend time with God daily.

performed miracles and healings, Jesus would separate Himself from the crowd and spend time with God in prayer. Jesus knew that His purpose was:

  1. To glorify God
  2. To destroy the works of the devil
  3. To bring good news to the people

And guess what? You have the same purpose! God created you to glorify Him, to spend time with Him, and to share the good news of salvation with others. Although everyone has the same task, God has a special way for each of us to fulfill the task.

To God, In Prayer

Do you know how God wants to use you in His Kingdom? To answer this question, you must spend time with Him to know what He desires. Spend time with God by praying, reading the Bible, and singing praise and worship songs to His glory. As you spend time with Him, He will let you know what it is He has planned for you. Pray to ask God to help you to spend time with Him.

Let us pray:

 “Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Thank You for being with me every day. Please give me a greater desire to fellowship with You by reading Your Word and spending time in prayer. I want to fulfill the purpose You have for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Jesus loves you and you are very special to Him. Make sure you spend time with God  every day, and ask that He reveal to you His purpose for your life!

West Angeles Church of God In Christ wishes you a great school year!

Dr. Tonya Lewis: 3 Good Reasons to Hold On to the Lord

It is easy for us to become tired and overwhelmed by the amount of energy required of us to hold on and not let go of something. ‘To hold on’ indicates that there is also the potential for us to loosen or release our grip; however, what is at stake also determines the intensity of our grip. The very idea of gripping and holding on to something means that we believe it is beneficial to do so and that determination must be the mindset of our spiritual walk with Christ here on earth. It qualifies us to experience the glory of all eternity with Him.

Our desperate desire to be rescued from hurts, pain, the horrible results of sin, and our attempts to live life apart God’s leadership influences us to accept Jesus’ invitation to come unto Him. After accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, however, we find that our lives still do have painful and disappointing experiences as we journey through them. The difference is that we now have the joy of knowing that the Great Lord God and His host of angels are with us to escort us through those challenges.

 

Hold On: Don’t Let Go of the Lord

As you can imagine, Satan is not – and never will be – accepting of our decision to live a Christian life. Thus, his efforts to discourage us and have us walk away from the Lord will continue, no matter how we age in years, or how long we are Christians. This is why each of us is warned in 1 Pet. 5:8(NLT) –

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

“No safe age or stage in life” is implied in this verse, which means that each of us must heed its warning AT ALL TIMES. We cannot become spiritually lazy and stop being alert just because we have walked with the Lord for many years. What’s more, we must be on guard:

  • To protect our invested years of serving the Lord
  • To go on to enjoy the fruits of our labor
  • To be a positive influence on others by staying true to what we know

 

6 Ways to Hold On to Faith in Jesus

Because of the ongoing, whispering effort of the enemy to convince us to release our grip on our faith, we must have a constant reminder to hold on and don’t let go – no matter our difficult and disappointing experiences in life. We are told in Amos 6:1-

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, (NLT), Woe to those secure in Zion, (YLT).

Any predator’s strategy is to seek those persons who are not watchful and alert, for they are the easy prey. Each of us must guard ourselves, making ourselves difficult prey for Satan, and embracing the command of Hebrews 4:14 (AMP) –

…let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior].

Regardless of the philosophies of society, we must determine that nothing or no one will incite us to loosen or release our grip of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the present joy of serving Jesus here on earth, and because of His blessed promise to us to enjoy the fullness of that joy throughout all eternity, we must enthusiastically hold on and don’t let go of our faith by:

  1. Staying true to our beliefs and experiences in the goodness of Jesus
  2. Rising above ANYTHING OR ANYONE who could discourage us
  3. Guarding our hearts against anything or anyone who could negatively influence it
  4. Keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on man or woman, no matter how “influential” they are in our lives
  5. Knowing that, as strongly persuaded as we were when we first gripped the faith of belief in Jesus, it is what we need today, tomorrow and as long as we live on this earth
  6. Renewing our grip on our Great God on a regular basis through praising and worshiping Him, meditating on His Word, and developing an even greater intimate relationship with Him

Remember: one moment in the presence of God will outshine all of the combined moments of temptation to release our grip on our faith; therefore, hold on! Don’t let go!

God bless you and yours!

Hear “Hold On” by The Whitfield Company below:


REVIVAL AT WEST ANGELES – The Evangelists Missionaries and The Brotherhood are joining forces to present a church-wide Revival, October 24-28, 2016,  at the West Angeles North Campus. The theme this year is: “Speak To Your Mountain”!  Speakers include: Elder Charles Blake, Evangelist Francine Gray, Elder Lawrence Blake, Dr. Tonya Lewis, Elder Dennis Bullock, Evangelist Velena White, Elder Ulesses Henderson, Evangelist Marva Hightower, and Dr. Judith McAlister.

Come out each night for prayer, praise, worship and a powerful move of God as we speak to our mountains!!!!

 

Elder Kenneth Hammonds – What Is Holiness? Part 1

The world today calls for the church to live in holiness and righteousness. God calls us as His people to maintain our connection to Him; to be a people set apart from the ways of society, and to use our lives to bring light into the darkness of the world. In the first of a 3-part series for “The Elders’ Corner,” Dr. Kenneth Hammonds discusses the meaning of holiness through linguistics, and through understanding the nature and wonder of God Himself.

What Is Holiness?

In order to study the meaning of holiness, we must start with God. God is the beginning of holiness. Before the beginning of creation was God, who existed in all of His splendor by Himself, of course in the persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But some theologians assert that God’s holiness – or His “otherness” – is His key attribute; the central core and foundational attribute of His nature and character.

One pastor, Pastor Jim McClarty, made a great statement which said, “God is unlike any other, and His holiness is the essence of His otherness.”

Defining Holiness through Language

Let’s look at some of the basic concepts of holiness through linguistics, in both its Hebrew and Greek foundations in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

In Hebrew, the word is Kadosh, which means “sacred or holy.” This word is used many times in the Old Testament, in the book of Leviticus. In the Greek (in the New Testament), the word is Hagios, which means, to be holy; to be sacred, to be set apart by or for God as holy or sacred.” The Greeks used the word in their temples. A third word, Ekklesia means “church, assembly, congregation, convocation.” It is made of two words: ek which means “out of,” and klesia, from the word kaleo, which means “to be called.” The church is not the building! To be the church is to be called out as the assembly for God’s purpose.

Three words summarize the linguistic foundation of holiness and what it is. Holiness is:

  1. DIFFERENT – standing out from the ordinary
  2. SET APART – for purpose, mission, and service to God
  3. BEAUTIFUL – the splendor, the beauty of our life and of our witness; holiness is attractiveness

In other words, to live holy means that we are called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.

What Does Holiness Mean To Me?

Some questions about holiness we may ask:

  • “How do we know God is holy?” We know because God reveals, proclaims, and declares Himself as Holy to mankind. Leviticus 11:44 says, “Be Holy because I am Holy.”
  • “God is holy, but can He impart holiness to humans?” God says that it is possible, and it can be done.  Indeed without Him, you cannot be Holy. His nature makes it possible. You can be different; you can be set apart, but it takes His impartation of holiness to be set apart to God.
  • “Why is holiness required or indispensable?” Holiness is indispensable in the time in which we live, and in New Testament theology. It is absolutely required and indispensable to show God’s work in the lives of human beings. In you, as a holy human being, others have seen a difference in your life! The impartation of God’s holiness speaks to others about God’s work in our lives, which is for the benefit of mankind. Because others live holy, mankind benefits, simply because someone is set apart for God’s service. Most importantly, the reason we do anything and everything is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31 –

“We do all things for the glory of God.”

So, holiness is to be lived and enjoyed!

Conclusion

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. That is the holiness that God gives, and it is also the holiness of what God is. As you look at the words we’ve discussed above, you see that the nature of holiness is good. Holiness means being set apart. If you are a set apart being, then you are beautiful.

Therefore:

Be beautiful! Called-out! Set apart!

God Bless you!

Adapted from “Let’s Talk About It: Holiness,” by Dr. Kenneth Hammonds, Dr. Wilfred Graves and Elder Oscar Owens, 11/11/2015, at the West Angeles North Campus Sanctuary.


FOR FURTHER STUDY:

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 2 Peter; Isaiah 6:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Romans 1:6, Leviticus 11:44 , 1 Corinthians 10:31.  See also: Strong’s Concordance, and the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.

JOIN US FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY!  Delve deeper into the Word of God as dynamic pastors, theologians and speakers from across the country present riveting insights on the Bible, the basis of our faith. Please join us at West Angeles each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the North Campus Sanctuary, 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Visit Westa.org or phone:(323) 733-8300 for more information.

THE WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM –  Want to learn about the promises of God? Hear this entire sermon in its entirety on CD or DVD.  Visit us at the West Angeles Christian Emporium where you’ll find a variety of Bible translations, books on Christian life, devotionals, and more. Visit us in the lobby after each service, or visit us at  3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Phone: (323) 731-3012 for hours and directions.

 

 

Bishop Blake, Garcetti Show Support for Measure M

Originally posted on LaSentinel.net

More than 30 faith leaders joined L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to encourage passage of Measure M, the Nov. 8 ballot initiative calling for a half-cent countywide sales tax to fund transit and road projects and improvements in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

During a breakfast meeting on Oct. 14 at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, several clergy representing some of the largest congregations in South L.A. endorsed the measure, proclaiming its passage will ease traffic, create 465,000 new jobs, and modernize the county’s transportation system.

Measure M, sponsored by MTA, promises a host of benefits, if it receives 2/3 of the vote.  According to the description in the voter’s information booklet, the measure will provide funding to improve freeway traffic flow and safety, repair potholes and sidewalks, repave local streets, earthquake retrofit bridges, synchronize traffic signals, keep senior/disabled/student fares affordable, expand rail/subway/bus systems, improve job/school/ airport connections and create jobs.

If approved, the ½ cent sales tax will become effective January 1, 2017 and remain in place until voters decide to end it.  The measure also calls for regular independent audits to ensure accountability and transparency.

“I know many congregations have been impacted by Metro’s construction and expansion efforts.  But the good news is that we will all reap the benefits of an expanded and more reliable system that relieves traffic,” said Bishop Charles E. Blake of West Angeles COGIC.

“At West Angeles COGIC, we have first-hand knowledge of the benefits of affordable and reliable transportation.  Many of our congregants come to church by train and the Metro line and our employees use it to come to work.”

While acknowledging the improved quality of life that a modern transportation network offers, Ridley-Thomas made it plain: “This is also about jobs, jobs and more jobs.  There is no other public construction project in this state that will generate 400,000+ jobs.”

In his remarks, Garcetti said that Measure M was also about people and their stories.  Sharing examples, he cited the dilemma faced by an 82-year-old veteran without a public transportation option to get medicine and a South Los Angeles child who never visited the beach.

“Now with the Expo Line open to Santa Monica, all that public transportation fulfills the dream that lives within you.  It’s the church network that makes sure that we touch the lives of individuals,” said Garcetti.

Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First AME Church of Los Angeles and Apostle Beverly “Bam” Crawford of

Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church in Inglewood echoed the comments of previous speakers and announced their support for the measure as well.

“Measure M ensures that our emerging and growing infrastructure will be built to last.  It will provide a constant stream of revenue so the system will be adequately maintained.  It ensures rider safety and reliability. We encourage people to do whatever they can to support a yes vote on Measure M,” said Boyd.

Bishop Blake: The Foundation of Our Faith

The starting point of the believer’s knowledge of God, and the believer’s knowledge of the things of God, is not in the Old Testament…it is in Jesus BISHOPblake-2011Christ, the Son of God. Without Jesus, we probably would not be aware of – nor would we even read – the Old Testament. But the Old Testament points to Jesus. He fulfills the Old Testament.

Before Jesus, the Jewish faith (the faith of the Old Testament) was exactly that…the Jewish faith. No one much beyond the Jews was interested in, nor did they feel they had access to, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Most people believed in in some kind of god, they just did not know what that god was like, or who that god was. In the Gentile world, they heard the testament of those who had walked the earth with Jesus Christ, or they were confronted with the very spirit of the risen Christ Himself. Without the life of Jesus, and without the Old Testament, the New Testament would not have become the basis for the great faith called Christianity.

This history is not said to reflect upon the Jews. God chose that nation, that group, to be the vehicle of the truth that He wanted to reveal up to that point. He isolated that race so that He could develop through them the truths upon which Jesus would build, and upon which the life and teachings of Jesus would be based.

The Gentile world seemed more ready to accept the Messiah that the Jews had described in the Old Testament than they were. And it is also a strange fact that the whole structure of sacrifices of animals and of blood ceased soon after Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice. In the Jewish synagogues and temples, there is no sacrifice of blood anymore, even though they believe that there is no redemption without the shedding of blood.

Because of Jesus we have a link – a Way – into the wonderful promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Jesus told us about God because He is God. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, He would never have impacted the world as He has. If He did not rise from the dead, He would not have the significance for us that He has.

Adapted from the sermon,“The Foundation of Our Faith”, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 10/16/2016.  

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 15:12-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.


JOIN US AT WEST ANGELES! – Join us each Sunday at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the beautiful West Angeles Cathedral, 3600 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016, and at 7 p.m. at the North Campus Sanctuary, 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Visit Westa.org or phone:(323) 733-8300 for more information.

THE WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM –  Want to learn about the promises of God? Hear this entire sermon in its entirety on CD or DVD.  Visit us at the West Angeles Christian Emporium where you’ll find a variety of Bible translations, books on Christian life, devotionals, and more. Visit us in the lobby after each service, or visit us at  3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Phone: (323) 731-3012 for hours and directions.

Dr. Tonya Lewis: Are You Stable and Secure?

To be stable means “to be constant, firm, unchanging, unwavering and established.” To be secure means “to be, safe, protected and sheltered.” Being stable and unwavering in our decisions and actions determines our level of security. But how do you make your decisions and live your life? Can what you say be trusted and reliable because your answers and actions are known to be stable? Or are you liable to “flip-flop” in what you say and do?  

Just as we desire that others be stable in their dealings with us, our Heavenly Father desires us to be stable in our interaction with Him- constant, firm, unchanging, unwavering and established –  so that we can experience the fullness and richness of a relationship with Him. Hebrews 3:6(NIV) says,

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.  

Unshakable faith in Jesus Christ secures our residence in the “Household of God.” When we are members of God’s household, we reap the benefits of being family members. But in order to securely establish our relationship with God, it is important that we read His Word on a daily basis.

 

The Power in the Unmovable Word of God

In order to experience a flourishing relationship with Jesus Christ, we must totally adhere to God’s Word. Jesus gives us direction for establishing biblestable and secure lives in Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV):

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Jesus is the Rock we must build our lives upon. He even identifies as wise and stable those persons who not only hear His Word, but also put it into action. On a daily basis we must be constant, firm and unwavering in our decision to be submissive to Jesus. His Word will govern our conduct, our words, and our interactions with Him and with others. Any guidance that the Word of God gives us is not for His benefit, but for our own. Through daily unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, God unleashes unimaginable and overwhelming blessings into our lives!

 

The Benefits of Unwavering Faith

If we are unwavering in our faith, and  committed to our relationship with and obedience to the Lord, our Rock, then:

  • when the trials of life come, we are automatically guaranteed security in our relationship with Him.
  • when the waters of sorrow, depression or temptation flood in to overtake us and to collapse or destroy our faith in Him, we will remain stable.
  • where the foolish hear God’s Word and ignore it, we instead become wise.  
  • when the mindset and ways of the world dominate all around us, we unleash the power of God’s Word, and remain unmovable.

Yes, this word is for each of us, whether we’ve had a long-term relationship with Jesus Christ or we’ve only recently been saved. Listen to the Holy Spirit of God, for He does speak to us each day to lead and guide us into all truth and righteousness. With His help, we are assured to remain wise and not drift into foolishness.

So continue to be stable; the light of Jesus’ Word: and secure the rich blessings of fellowship with Him. God bless.  


Hear the Alambama A&M Gospel Choir sing, “On Christ The Solid Rock” below:

Bishop Blake Talks Importance of Black Church, Black Vote

Originally posted on Ebony.com.

Since the enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Black churches have always played a pivotal role in the electoral process. During the Civil Rights Movement, Sunday morning pulpits were preachers’ soapboxes to commingle God’s word with inspiration and information regarding civil rights initiatives, including rights and privileges guaranteed by that law.

In response to the civil rights political victories, African-Americans exercised their right to vote with passion. Within months of the act’s passage, one quarter of a million new Black voters had been registered. By 1969, Tennessee had a 92.1% turnout; Arkansas, 77.9%; and Texas, 73.1%.

The enthusiasm with which African-Americans vote has diminished over decades. It remains the Black church’s responsibility to encourage its membership to participate in the electoral process; remind them of their history; and empower them to be heard through their vote.

Black voter turnout, or the lack thereof, will have a significant impact on the election of the next president of The United States of America. This presidential campaign season, many Black evangelicals find ourselves in a bit of a quandary. I am a Pentecostal pastor who is a pro-life, registered Democrat. Thus, I am biblically and doctrinally opposed to policies that support same-sex marriage and abortion. But simultaneously, I support policies that empower the middle-class, poor, uneducated, disadvantaged, and effectively improve the civic, economic, religious, and cultural conditions of our African-American communities. An agreement or disagreement on one issue cannot dictate one’s vote. We must look to the totality of the candidates’ platforms to make an informed voting decision.

As the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), a 6 million member denomination, and the Pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, a 25,000 member congregation in the inner-city of Los Angeles, I take seriously my obligation as an American citizen to vote, despite the complexity of choice we sometimes face. To that end, my vote must be cast for the candidate who cares most about my community, my family, the Black church, its rights and our parishioners.

There are many pastors formally endorsing presidential candidates this campaign season, to much fanfare. It is an insult to the intelligence and savvy of the Black church membership for political candidates, strategists and pollers to assume that for whomever a “church leader” cast his or her vote, the membership will follow blindly. Moreover, legally and constitutionally, the church should not exert influence over the outcome of elections and individuals involved in elections. In fact, a 1954 Tax Reform Act, commonly termed the “Johnson Amendment” noted that all tax-exempt organizations are banned from supporting or opposing political candidates.

However, the Tax Reform Act does not require the church to remain silent. Morally and from a humane perspective, the church should take positions on issues that impact people; the poor, disenfranchised, those who cannot speak loudly for themselves either because of lack of resources or lack of access.

Every once in awhile, an issue rises to the level of potentially contributing to the good or ill of our African-American society; or an issue rises in relationship to those things that are most sacred to us. Consequently, on occasion, it is imperative for the Black church to articulate its position. This presidential campaign season represents one of those occasions where the Black church must articulate its position and express its expectations of the presidential candidates; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

A review of recent comments from each of the candidates demonstrates that each must worker harder to engage the Black Church in a compelling way. Mr. Trump stated, “I believe we need a civil rights agenda for our time, one that ensures the right to a great education . . . and the right to live in safety and in peace, and to have a really, really great job, a good-paying job, and one that you love to go to every morning.” It is unclear to me what Mr. Trump meant by a “civil rights agenda for our time.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prescribed an end to segregation, an end to discrimination in employment, desegregation of schools, and equal opportunity to live in safety and peace. We don’t need a new “civil rights agenda,” we need politicians who are passionate and committed to furthering and fulfilling the original Civil Rights Act.

In response to Mr. Trump’s question to African-Americans: “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs. Fifty-eight percent of your youth is unemployed. What … do you have to lose?” If the next President does not understand, empathize and sympathize with the daily struggles and dreams of African-Americans, then we have 50 years of progress to lose.

Secretary Clinton, as of late, has begun to engage the Black church in a more consistent manner, which does not mean, a more meaningful manner. She told a predominantly Black audience that the nation needed “a president who will pray with you and for you.” She has also stated that she is “grateful for the great gift of personal salvation and for the great obligation of the social gospel.” To any God-fearing Christian, these words are music to our ears. Yet, they fall short of speaking directly to our problems and offering tangible solutions that will be top priorities on day one in the Oval Office.

The Black church must wield its strength in numbers and influence and demand that the presidential candidates speak to the issues that impact their members every day. The narrative must shift from how the other candidate will harm us, to how their presidency will help us. Therefore, a clear understanding and agreement in a candidate’s positions, as they relate to the congregants of the Black church, is what will determine who gets the vote.

The Black church is too powerful an institution to be taken for granted or underestimated. Based on our voter engagement, we will cast the deciding votes as to who will be the 45th President of the United States of America.   The Black church equals Black power.

Education Enrichment: Should Students Attend the College of Their Choice?

In the latest installment from West Angeles’ Education Enrichment Program, Deacon John Wilson shares 3 tips to help families manage their expectations during the college application process.

Should a student attend the college of their choice? Nearly everyone reading this article will immediately think that the answer to this question is a resounding “YES!”

After all, you might ask, “Our children should get what they want if they worked hard for it, right?” In fact, you often hear a seemingly rhetorical question like this asked in political speeches by local and national candidates, and the idea is also creeping into our national educational policy for sure. In fact, most good, loving and caring parents think that their youth should attend the college of their choice.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with asking the question, as long we also understand that students should actually not get their college of choice! Instead, they should attend the college they are admitted to through their grades and test scores, by the quality of the application submitted, and –  because it’s the one their parents can afford without non-sustainable debt.

College Costs on the Rise

With the cost of tuition rising fast in the last 6-8 years (and even in the 5 years prior) – especially for private colleges – we have to face the real truthstudy that private colleges and even many public colleges out of state are way too costly for 95% of the families with whom I speak, unless their youths have exceptionally high grades and SAT Scores, and earn institutional merit scholarships. Realistically, for college to cost less than $15,000 per year, for a family of three making $70,000 to $200,000, students must have unweighted GPAs of 3.75 or above and SAT Scores of over 1300 on the Redesigned SAT. Below that level of high school academic performance, families usually have to take on debt of $20,000 to $45,000 for a private college.

There are a few private colleges of note that have more favorable financial aid policies (as a rule they do not), but they are not the schools that youth and/or parents would prefer to choose. Your student must be made aware that, as in life, GOOD or even VERY GOOD performance may not be good enough to get what he or she desires. The fact is, a student can be a good student and still not be accepted into the school of their choice.

*Important Tip: If you do not make your student aware of this reality, then you may feel more compelled to spend non-sustainably for college, in order to get them into the school they want.

Accordingly, many parents might resort to taking a Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Since the federal government eliminated non-federal “alternative” student loans that would normally cover the cost of college above and beyond the Financial Aid Award, the PLUS has been the primary loan which has served this same purpose. Private College and the United Negro College Fund have successfully lobbied the FEDs to make the PLUS even easier to attain for students’ families trying to obtain their school of choice, and whose parents are willing to take on the debt.

Lobbying has certainly not discouraged a corresponding 6-year record increase in private college tuition and room and board costs. Parents who want their students to have the school of their choice have been taking on astronomical debt in the past 4-6 years – and private colleges know it. Just a rather common $28,000 PLUS loan becomes a $100,000-$112,000 PLUS after four years and will cost nearly $160,000 by the time it is paid off – if it is. Indeed, the PLUS default rates are on the increase as well.

3 Ways Families Can Prepare

So, what’s the answer if a student cannot always have their college of choice? Here are 3 ways that families and students can manage their expectations during the college prep process:

  1. A realistic college list that has schools to which a student can affordably be admit.
  2. Tough Love…Parents must be willing to discuss the fact that they are not willing to take on unlimited college debt. It will be tough to tell their children this, and the student maybe upset at first, but usually they understand – especially if there are other affordable options.
  3. Consulting with a community-based college admissions support organization like the West Angeles Education Enrichment Program, which can review your 12th grade youth’s transcript and test scores, help develop a Family Income Profile with you and your family, and recommend some affordably-admissible schools for your youth’s application plan.

The West Angeles Church Education and Enrichment Ministry Program offers participating youth mentoring programs such as college admissions prep, college counseling, after school and summer math, science, and writing enrichment programs, and many other exceptionally high-quality educational offerings. In conjunction with its partner, The Princeton Review TM, The West Angeles EEP also offers low-cost SAT preparation and high school course requirement informational seminars to assist youth and their parents with all phases of the college admission process. at significantly reduced cost. Contact Deacon John H. Wilson, III at 323-733-8300.

 

Featured photo, Getty Images.