College is expensive and that's an understatement. The average cost of tuition is $27,094 per year not including room and board; making it difficult for most families to afford without assistance. According to the Wall Street Journal, the graduating class of 2015 will be the most indebted with total education debt–including federal and private education loans– of nearly $68 billion.
There is help. B-Forc! "The Bound For College Readiness Program" was founded by Shelia Cain in 2011 and through this program she has helped students receive over $1.5 million in scholarship money. We had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Cain.
What is the best way for someone to reach out to you?
Through our B-Forc! Facebook page.
Why did you start B-Forc!?
The process started with our daughter. As acceptance letters came rolling in, so were expensive price tags for attending the colleges she had been accepted into. I knew I had to create a plan to offset some of the financial responsibility for our family and try to limit the amount of debt she would graduate with.
I discovered early on that applying for scholarships would serve as the holy grail of opportunity. By the end of her senior year (2011) she was worth $250,000 in scholarships. The moment we watched her walk across the stage at her graduation, I knew I could recreate the same plan we used for our daughter's scholarship and college prep success to help other families reach or exceed the same scholarship success and college prep goals. So, the B-Forc! Plan began and has evolved in becoming new and improved over the years.
How did B-Forc! progress from that moment?
- Started a B-Forc! Pilot Program Fall of 2011
- Held the first B-Forc! Boot Camp in 2012
- B-Forc! & iTeenKC partnered to host Kansas City’s first ever Scholarship Empowerment Seminar featuring guest speaker “Million Dollar Scholar” Derrius Quarles April 2013
- Hosted Free Scholarship Seminars at local public libraries “Show Me the Money” June 2012
- UMKC asked Shelia Cain to create a college prep program for their Saturday Academy Parents Program (2011-2014)
- Taught college prep courses at UMKC Hospital Hill Summer Program and The UMKC Summer Scholars Program (3 years)
What is the B-Forc! motto?
B-Inspired, B-Empowered, B-Prepared.
Your outstanding work has been recognized, what awards have you won?
- Outstanding Service Award ~Achievement Matters
- Multicultural Leadership Development Institute
- Heart of America United Way ~ Allocation Team
- Distinguished Warrior of Education
What is the most rewarding part?
B-Forc! runs a Boot Camp to work with students directly and has a Facebook page where scholarship opportunities are listed on a regular basis but that is not the most rewarding part. The best part is how much it helps people.
What is current feedback you have received?
"Thank you for making my son's graduation special!! Just received notification of another scholarship award - $5,000 from the Black Community Foundation! He applied B-Cause B-Forc! taught him to B-lieve." Venita Fain-Siffre
Anika Williams shared her thoughts on the facebook page "Each time I get on this page, I'm inspired. Each time I get on this page I find several opportunities for my son."
"I am so grateful for the assistance in our scholarship search from B-Forc! We have found so many scholarship opportunities on [the B-Forc! Facebook] page we haven't found anywhere else. Thank you B-Forc! for informing us about the Disney Dreamer Academy. After learning about the program on your page, our daughter applied and was chosen as a 2015 Disney Dreamer! Thank you for helping us in so many ways!" Darci Anderson Steiner
Thank you Ms. Cain for talking the time to talk to us! Is there anything you would like to add.
Just that students don't need to have the best grades or be a star athlete to get a scholarship. There are many, many opportunities out there and students and parents should take the time to investigate. B-Forc! could end up saving them thousands and thousands of dollars!