Sunday, December 15, 2013

Project ENRICH Returns to Bowie State for December Session

James Copeland, U.S. Department of Education
Project ENRICH exists to help prepare and connect Prince George's County youth to college and life beyond. For many of the program's participants, a key part of that process is experiencing the look and the feel of a college campus while learning good study habits, time management, and about the college selection and application process. On Saturday, December 14, the program returned to its familiar supportive home, Bowie State University. The highlight of the session was a full-fledged College Financial Aid workshop conducted by a representative of the U.S. Department of Education.

For students and parents, finding the money to pay for college is of utmost concern. James Copeland, of the federal Education department, answered many of those questions on Saturday with an in-depth presentation that covered everything from the FAFSA worksheet to creatively seeking scholarships to government loan programs to what kinds of costs to expect for families confronting college for the first time. He even carved out a few minutes in his presentation to warn students about misusing social media and spending too much time with the social calendar once they arrive at college.

Students listen to presentation at Project ENRICH
Copeland, whose visit was arranged by Brother Courtland Smith, who works at the Department of Education, has a fascinating story of his own that he talked about some during the presentation. During his youth, he was in and out of trouble growing up in New York and did not enter college until age 38. Today, at 54, he has an MBA and a doctorate to go along with his undergraduate credentials. He is an "evangelist" for education and after hearing that story, it was easy to see why. He told Project ENRICH youth he was proof that it is never too late to get serious about education.

Parents and students also were advised by Immediate Past Basileus Gordon Everett, Sr. to network through Gamma Pi Brothers and their various alumni associations, as well as churches, nonprofits and other organizations to identify scholarship opportunities. He is president of the Winston-Salem State University National Alumni Association.

In keeping with Project ENRICH's commitment to financial literacy for students, there was also a presentation yesterday on how compounding works in the financial world, especially when applied to the interest one pays or earns.

Thanks to Brother Don Cook for the photos. More photos from Brother Cook are available here on Shutterfly:

Watch the bulk of the Financial Aid Presentation on YouTube below: