Give to the West Angeles Sponsorship Fund



April is West Angeles Sponsorship Month!  – We all know how challenging it can be to meet rising college expenses. To be a blessing to the West Angeles scholars who have qualified for a sponsorship, please give to the West Angeles Sponsorship Fund Organization (WASFO).

Last year, you gave over $83,000 to help deserving students achieve a quality education. Please feel free to mail your donations to the address below, or to pay online now, please click the image below. You can also use the yellow envelopes provided in the pews during our annual fundraising drive; however, tax-deductible donations are accepted on a continuous basis.

To give to the Sponsorship Fund, please make checks payable to:

WEST ANGELES CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST (in the memo area, please write “WASFO”).

Our West Angeles Church of God In Christ address is:

3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Education and EnrichmentDeacon John Wilson, (323) 733-8300 x2628, or Le’Nese Burks, x2629 for further details.



The West Angeles Sponsorship Fund Organization (WASFO) was created to assist in furthering the development of our high school graduates and current college students, by way of providing sponsorship for their college education. Since its creation, WASFO has distributed over 200 scholarships to qualified applicants who are active members of West Angeles Church. Our youth and young adults are some of the brightest in the country and for this reason we want to help them succeed in their pursuit of higher learning, as we help to alleviate some of their financial pressures.

Visit WESTA.ORG for timely information and articles from our Office of Education and Enrichment.  For more information on financial aid, application deadlines and more, please click HERE to read more.

Education and Enrichment: What Will We Pay for College for 2017?

In the latest installment from our Education and Enrichment Ministry, Deacon John Wilson takes a realistic look at Fall 2017 college costs for your and your family.

Rising Education Costs: What Will We Pay for College?

Rising Education Costs: What Will We Pay for College in 2017?

Now that you have filed your youth’s FAFSA for Fall 2017-Spring 2018, you’re now anxiously waiting to hear what financial aid offers your youth will receive. There are some very accurate generalities you can make, however, about what you will pay for College for Fall 2017. This is based on taking a closer look at certain colleges’ known financial aid policies, and 10 years of our financial aid experience.

NOTE: These costs are estimated, but the amounts will be close enough to give you a general understanding of the “out-of-pocket” cost of college before you get the financial aid awards from colleges in late March thru April 2017:

  1. California State University (CSU) – Generally, parents who make more than $60,000 will pay $12,000 to $17,500 per year for their youth to be ON CAMPUS at CSU. As you will see, this is WAY BELOW the cost of nearly all private colleges. The $5,500 cost variation for CSU is due to the wide variations in on-campus costs among CSUs and the family’s number of dependents (2-4). In contrast, it’s only about $1,200 to $1,500 per year to commute to a “local” CSU if your youth takes the Direct Student Loan of $5,500 for the first year.
  2. University of California (UC) – Generally, parents who make between $60,000 and $90,000 and have up to 4 dependents on their 2015 tax return will pay $6,000 to $14,000 per year for UC, unless a merit reward is received.  As we move above the $100,000 family income level, UC gets closer and closer to the $18,000 to $24,000 net direct (out of pocket) cost per year (NOTE: When the family income is below $45,000 and up to $54,00, families will pay $0 to $6,000 for CSU or UC out of pocket).  
  3. Private Colleges – The cost here really depends on which private college your youth attends. Those which are the most well-known and popular with parents and youth (including Private Black Colleges – also called “HBCUs”), will cost $23,000 to $55,000 per year for families making more than $70,000 per year.  Even families making under $40,000 could expect to pay $12,0000 to $20,000 per year. This could be lowered by Merit Awards about $10,000 per year if your youth meets the university’s merit levels for GPA and SAT.

In conclusion, if:

  • your youth has a 3.0 unweighted GPA, and his or her SAT Scores are 1020 and above,
  • you and your youth are willing to look at other schools that are less expensive than the schools mentioned above and
  • you are great at helping to prepare youth for a great future and career –

then call us today at the West Angeles Education and Enrichment Program for more information: 323-733-8300 ext. 2629.

Deacon John Wilson is Director of West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Education and Enrichment Ministry (EEM). EEM is provided in accordance with the Urban Initiatives of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) International, through the leadership of Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. To find out more about the various programs and services provided, please click HERE.

Hear what parents have to say about the West Angeles Education & Enrichment Ministry in the testimonial video below –

Education Enrichment: 3 Important Financial Aid Questions to Ask Now

Attention Class of 2017 Parents!         

Most people believe that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important part of the financial aid process. This prompts many to mistakenly ask, “How much will I get from FAFSA”? Many people also believe that the Federal Government provides the financial aid award.

Indeed, without the timely submission of a FAFSA, there will be no financial aid. However, there are three other elements of the application process which are of the utmost importance in determining the financial aid your student receives.

Here are 3 important questions to ask during the financial aid application process:

Please click the image to enlarge or download the Student Aid Report infographic.

Please click the image to enlarge or download the Student Aid Report infographic.

  1. What is the most important document in the Financial Aid application process? The document that is the most essential is the Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is formed from the FAFSA, by the US Department of Education.

The most important number on the SAR is the Expected Family Contribution (or EFC), which is found at the top of the SAR. This EFC is the number (in dollars) that is the Department of Education’s estimate of what parents are expected to pay for college. In reality, however, it will NOT BE. Most colleges and universities in NO WAY rely on the EFC to determine what parents will pay. They do use the EFC to determine how much need-based Federal and State Aid that will be received.

In that way, the EFC is most important for lower income families (with incomes below approximately $46,000 per year). However, the EFC is irrelevant for most families whose students are NOT Pell Grant eligible.


  1. How do colleges and universities determine if they will award additional grants and scholarships if they are not looking at the EFC? The determination is made according to the laws of the state (in the case of state aid) and by the financial aid rules or policies of private colleges and universities. Incidentally, a University’s upper management, not its financial aid director, sets the policies that determine how institutional awards are given out to families. This is the reason why appeals for more financial aid are only actionable by the Financial Aid Office if something is wrong on the original SAR.

For example, in California, major grants such as university grants and Cal Grants are quite need-based, and are not available in a significant way above income levels of $55,000 for Cal State University and $75,000 for University of California. Other out-of-state public colleges and universities do have aid which meets all or most of the family’s unmet need based on the EFC, but most do not.


  1. Where else can significant college institutional funding come from? The answer? The student’s unweighted GPA and SAT/ACT scores, which brings us back to an important truth: because the EFC indicates to the college that they cannot award Federal or State Aid to a student –

Students must earn institutional (college or university) grants and scholarships to help their parents pay for college.

The EFC on the SAR should be read and known, but may not be truly relevant. Because of this, in the meetings and sessions of our program at West Angeles Church, we are helping our parents to determine what college will cost, before and after the financial award is generated. This is an important step in choosing and affordable college.

Feel free to join us in these sessions!

Please call the West Angeles Education Enrichment Program at West Angeles Church of God In Christ for more information. 323-733-8300 ext. 2629.

Deacon John Wilson is Director of West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Education and Enrichment Ministry (EEM). EEM is provided in accordance with the Urban Initiatives of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) International, through the leadership of Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. To find out more about the various programs and services provided, please click HERE. 

Education & Enrichment Testimonials from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

Our thanks to Discover Student Loans for use of the cool infographic. West Angeles Church of God In Christ is not an agent of Discover Student Loans; nor is the use of this infographic an endorsement of Discover Student Loans.

NEXT:  Can I estimate what I will owe for college for my youth? 


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.

Education Enrichment: 5 Financial Aid Tips You Need To Know Now

Deacon John Wilson, Director of West Angeles’ Education Enrichment ministry, shares 5 important tips for properly submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

For students beginning at a college or university in Fall 2017 (Academic Year 2017-18, rising seniors), Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deliveries can and should begin October 1. As you probably know, proper and timely FAFSA delivery is required to get Federal or Institutional Aid from a college or university. It’s our advice that the FAFSA be delivered October 1 – 10. 

NOTEIn previous years, the FAFSA would have been delivered January 1-10t of the year of enrollment – in this case, 2017. The date was changed by the Federal Government by Presidential Executive Order earlier this year.

Here are 5 additional important considerations:

  1. The FAFSA should be delivered ONLINE at, although it could be delivered in the mail. If you deliver by mail, it will take 4-6 additional weeks to complete the financial aid process.
  2. Even though it’s an ONLINE application and it’s their FAFSA, YOUTH SHOULD NEVER DELIVER THE FAFSA UNSUPERVISED.
  3. It’s our 13-year FAFSA experience that 80% of all FAFSAs are delivered ONLINE with some sort of error – 25-30% with an error that significantly reduces or delays the financial aid award. This is why, for a very small donation, we deliver FAFSAs and follow up during the financial aid process. Outside services charge hundreds of dollars for this service.
  4. Before submitting the FAFSA, both youth and parent should order a FAFSA username and password at However, it’s quite difficult to follow the online instructions for this. In fact, last year, which was the first year for ordering FAFSA usernames and passwords, we noticed that 60% had serious problems with initial ordering or could not complete the proper ordering of the password. Because of this, we have developed a detailed procedure that can be found HERE.
  5. The FAFSA 2015 taxable income data will need to be retrieved into FAFSA from the 2015 Federal Income Tax Return.

If you have further FAFSA or other financial aid process issues, please call our Office (West Angeles EEP) at West Angeles Church of God In Christ at 323-733-8300 ext. 2629.

Deacon John Wilson is Director of West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Education and Enrichment Ministry (EEM). EEM is provided in accordance with the Urban Initiatives of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) International, through the leadership of Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. Please contact EEM at 323-733-8300 X 2629 to find out more about the various programs and services provided, or click please HERE.

REGISTER NOW: 2016 Summer Enrichment Program

It’s that time again! Register now for the 2016 Youth Summer Enrichment Program! Mandatory orientation for the 2016 West Angeles Youth Summer Enrichment Program is:

Thursday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m.

For registration package, please see the bottom of this page.



Education Enrichment 2016 Summer Program

Education Enrichment 2016 Summer Program

To download the Summer Enrichment Program Registration Package, please 


Education Enrichment: 4 Mistakes Class of 2017 Families are Making Right Now

Deacon John Wilson, Director of West Angeles’ Education Enrichment Ministry, explains the 4 mistakes to correct if a great, affordable college is the goal for your 2017 graduating senior.

If a member of your family is a high school student who’s graduating in the Class of 2017, it may be hard to believe, but, yes – even in June 2016 – there are things which families typically need to do today in order to help secure an affordable and appropriate college for their 11th grade youth.

Here are 4 often missing steps which parents should be taking NOW – in June of the 11th grade year:

  1.  Review transcripts & SAT scores to ensure that HS Course Requirements are complete and adequate for the colleges of your choice.

Reviewing these items NOW will help give you options for make-up classes, or can help you to strengthen your youth academically in the right areas this summer. Very often when I meet with families in the fall of the 12th grade year, I find that the student may have gotten D’s and/or F’s in earlier semesters which could have been made up. However, high school counselors may not have notified students of this, or parents may have made their own assumptions concerning the courses needed for college. This is understandable, but wrong assumptions are often reinforced by well-meaning friends and/or family members. Meet with a knowledgeable college guidance professional to confirm (a) if HS courses need replacement; and (b) which colleges are best to apply to. In our program, we call these “College Readiness Conferences.” Contact us or another college prep professional to set up the required meetings.

  1.  Register Your Youth for High Quality, Reduced Cost SAT Class for the October SAT.

Many families whose students really need higher SAT scores determine that their youth can study on their own for the SAT; in fact, the College Board is making this claim to HS Counselors and educators! It was their hope that prep would not be needed, and students could teach themselves online. Here in our program, we do not deny this could be true, but it’s very rare. Why? Nearly all 11th graders we’ve worked with are not as adept at the self-study techniques needed to adequately learn content. They need human motivation to learn difficult material, which is even harder than disciplining themselves to do well on school tests. We are certified SAT preparers, and we know that training in SAT test-taking techniques help with over 90% of students. Contact us for more information for low cost SAT Prep for the October SAT.

  1.  Apply for the FAFSA Username and Password NOW.

The 2017-18 FAFSA should be submitted in the first 2 weeks of October of 2016. Due to a recent change in the Federal Financial Aid regulations/procedures, your 2015 income will be used for financial aid determination. In response, many colleges are making their financial aid deadlines for Fall earlier this year. Naturally, I am advising BOTH parents and Class of 2017 students to order their usernames and passwords early. All you need to apply for the FAFSA username and password is the Social Security Number, date of birth and names as they appear on the Social Security Cards.

We produced a GREAT procedure for finding the FAFSA username and password; you can find at the following link:

NOTE:  Both student and parent need to apply for the FAFSA username and password.

  1. Allow your youth to take AP Classes during the 12th grade year ONLY if their Unweighted GPAs are already above 3.5, AND if you know they have a very good chance of getting an “A” in the AP course.

What’s more important is that a student’s GPA actually increases the first semester of the 12th grade year. The best way to raise a GPA is for the student to get A’s. The best way for a student to get A’s is for them to study HARD and to not have AP Courses to focus on. The ONLY time students should be taking AP Courses during the 12th grade Year is (a) when they have gotten A’s in similar courses; (b) if they have earlier experience with AP courses; and  (c) if they are looking seriously at University of California Campuses and have a GPA of 3.6 weighted and 3.5 unweighted. I know it’s a difficult decision to make when teachers and counselors insist that AP courses MUST be taken to get into a great college, but it’s simply not true. Please contact our office if you have questions or want to know more details.

Please review the above information carefully and get a great start RIGHT NOW in preparing your youth for admission into an affordable, cost sustainable and GREAT college!


Deacon John Wilson is Director of West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Education and Enrichment Ministry (EEM). EEM is provided in accordance with the Urban Initiatives of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) International, through the leadership of Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. Please contact EEM at 323-733-8300 X 2629 to find out more about the various programs and services provided, or click please HERE.

It’s Summer Enrichment time again! Mandatory orientation for the West Angeles Summer Enrichment Program is Thursday, June 30 at 6:30pm. To find out more about the program including deadlines and registration materials, please click HERE.