For this month’s article I am doing something a little different.  I had the privilege of attending a charity event in Columbus Ohio on Feb 28th. The event, Cure the Present Save the Future, was to raise money to sponsor 4 students to enroll in HIFE CPP and to donate an additional $6000 to Cancer Research for children.

I want to recognize the Ohio HIFE CPP team under the leadership of Ting Chiu and Carol Pham with a special thanks to Valinda Khamvongsouk and Phanna Es, the event organizers.  It took a lot of hard work and many hours to plan this event.

Thanks to all of the HIFE team and volunteers!

Head Organizers: Valinda Khamvongsouk; Phanna Es

Entertainment Committee: Melissa Nguyen; Don Moss; VyPhoung TranPicture1

Essay Contest Committee: Valinda Khamvongsouk; Richard Gilmore

Host/MC: Porlakk Es

Event Venue Correspondent: Valinda Khamvongsouk; Rob Shim

Decoration Committee: Janet Loy; Attusa Hai

Raffle Team: Sinay Nikki Mam; Constance Sandnasamy

Tech Team: Kevin Gam

Time Keepers:  Mouks Khampoui; Joe Danso

Event Photographer: Wayne Daggett

Registration/Reception Committee: Lynn Pham; Chad Lawson; Lalli Lawson; Ailee Hartman; Juliet Diong; Michelle Huang; Vanessa Medoza; Martine King

Counseling Pitfalls Drag College Completion Goals

Poor high school counseling strategies could undermine college completion goals, a new report says.

States might not be able to meet their goals for college completion if they don’t adjust poor high school counseling policies, a report from the Education Commission of the States argues.

“By and large, this drive to increase college readiness and post-secondary completion rates has not been backed by meaningful state policies to improve college counseling in secondary schools,” the report said. “In fact, many sPicture16 tate approaches to college counseling appear to assume students will ‘figure it out’ and need little, if any, individualized guidance.”

Currently, any states approach counseling with a “build it, and they will come” mentality with methods that have potential shortcomings, the report says. Online programs, for example can help students and families go through the college application process, but it’s unclear if there’s enough public outreach to make sure students are aware of the option.

Other proposals, such as requiring students to complete a college application in order to graduate, might get more undeserved students to apply to college, but it doesn’t ensure the applications are high-quality. Picture17

The report’s authors suggest states should rather focus on strategies linked to getting more students to go to college. In high schools where more students go to college, for example, counselors were more likely to spend more of their time focusing on college counseling, rather than other areas.

Counselors’ case loads also matter. Nationwide, the average counselor sees nearly twice as many students as the 1:250 ratio recommended by the American Counseling Association. On average, each counselor is responsible for 471 students. Picture18

But the authors argue there are low-cost strategies to lighten counselors’ case loads that could have a high level of impact. Research has backed the power of using videos on college cost and financial aid, as well as having a “college coach,” separate from other school counselors who is solely focused on preparing students for college.

“While current efforts may produce some gains in college-going rates, emerging research points to specific counselor attitudes and priorities, as well as video, coaching and texting approaches demonstrated to have meaningful impacts, particularly among low-income students and others underrepresented in higher education,” the report says.

Source: Allie Bidwell

Importance of a College Education

During their high school career, students may begin to question the importance of a college education. They might find themselves asking, “Why  is it important to go to college?” The answer is that, more than ever, attending college provides opportunities for  graduates which are not as widespread to those who have not received a higher education.

For many high school students, being able to immediately generate an income after graduation is an appealing thought. They may also be repelled by the rising cost of tuition, and while it is true that a higher education may be one of the largest expenses you will ever face, the importance of a college education has become quite evident in terms of earning potential within today’s economy.

Why Should You go to College?

One important answer to this question is more opportunity. As opposed to generations of the past, high school graduates today are unable to obtain the number of high-paying jobs that were once available. The U.S. has been transformed from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on knowledge, and the importance of a college education today can be compared to that of a high school education forty years ago. It serves as the gateway to better options and more opportunity.

There are additional reasons as to why it is important to go to college. When students experience a post secondary education, they have the opportunity to read books and listen to the lectures of top experts in their fields. This stimulation encourages students to think, ask questions, and explore new ideas, which allows for additional growth and development and provides college graduates with an edge in the job market over those who have not experienced a higher education.

The importance of a college education is also accentuated because of the opportunity to gain valuable resources during your tenure. The more connections which are collected during your college career, the more options you will have when you begin your job search. Once you have ended your job search and have started your career, however, the importance of a college education has not been exhausted. Having a college degree often provides for greater promotion opportunity.

So, why should you go to college? The reasoning does not begin and end with the job aspect. A good education is beneficial from many different viewpoints, and while the importance of a college education is quite evident for many high school students, what is often not as clear is how they will pay for that education.

Funding Your College Education

Although the colleges and universities of today carry a heavy price tag, it is of great importance not to let that discourage you from obtaining a college education. While the cost of tuition continues to rise, so too does the number of available financial aid options.

From local and federal options, to categorical and corporate options, college- bound students have a variety opportunities worth exploring when attempting to obtain financial aid.

A common misrepresentation of financial aid packages (e.g. scholarships, grants, loans, work study programs) is that they provides funding for an entire college education. The reality is that most of these packages are smaller and it may take several of them to add up. This is why it is important to explore all of your options before you go to college:

If you are still asking yourself why should you go to college, it is important to remember the significant amount of opportunity available for college graduates.

The global economy is becoming increasingly more competitive, and in order to give yourself the best chance for a well-paying job, you must first understand the importance of college education. Attending college provides students with the knowledge and experience they are unable to receive from a secondary education, and finding a way to fund a higher education now can pay off in a huge way in the years to come.


Coachs Corner

Peter Vu graduaPicture19ted 2nd in his high school class of 800. A straight “A” student at J. Frank Dobie high school in Houston, Texas, Peter was active in his church, volunteered in a home for the elderly and participated in a teen outreach radio program.  Major awards and honors received while in high school included graduating as Salutatorian, AP Scholar with Distinction, Vanguard Award, Shining Star Award, Impetus

Initiative Award, Trailblazer Award, President’s Award for Educational Excellence, Most Likely to Succeed, National Forensics League Seal of: Merit, Honor, and Excellence. He is now a college sophomore at University of Houston and received their Academic Excellence Scholarship for $34,000 and their Tier One Scholarship worth around $80,000. In addition, Peter received the Houston Endowment 2013 Jones Scholar award, the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund: United Health Foundation,  and various other scholarships. All totaled, he received enough to cover all of his college expenses. Peter has also recently been accepted into the JAMP program, which is a highly competitive and coveted Texas-based program, that  not only guarantees acceptance into a Texas Medical school but includes scholarships to help pay for schooling.

Currently, Peter volunteers at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, elderly homes, and continues to be involved in his church. Occasionally, he speaks publically on talk segments with Vietnamese community leaders on 900 AM Radio. Peter has been excellent to coach and has been extremely active in scholarship applications and every aspect of the HIFE College Planning Program. He is a model student that I am proud to have been able to work with.

Thank you, Peter, for being a part of making my position as coach a pleasurable and rewarding experience and so much more than a job.

Sincerely, Paul

Source:   Paul Gappinger   College Planning Coach

Heartland Institute of Financial Education





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