Financial aid: Your questions answered

By Damon Leake

During the summer, it was a privilege to work at the CCC call center helping students with financial aid questions, showing students how to apply for a loan online, and answering any other questions they had. As time went on and more applications started coming in, I noticed that a lot of students did not have the information they needed to fill out their FAFSA and felt frustrated when the answer that was given was not the answer they wanted to hear.

The first and most important thing that every student should do is to apply early for financial aid. Applying early will ensure that you receive the aid on time. Some students this year applied past the deadline, making it difficult for the financial aid office to get their applications done.

We have a new system if you haven’t noticed called “The Portal” and every student should get to know this system well. The Portal has everything that students need as far as information on their profile, registering for classes, and also financial aid updates. Many students are not aware that they can check their financial aid statuses just like they used to do on Iris. To get to that information, first sign in to portal, the go to the WebAdvisor self service tab, once the tab opens, go to the financial aid tab, and finally go to the financial aid award letter tab. This will let you know if and when you received your financial aid award and how much you were rewarded.

It is also important to get to know your financial aid adviser. Your adviser can help you with any questions you may have and with filling out the FAFSA form. Be sure to have all the information needed before going to meet with your adviser. If you are uncertain what you need, give your adviser a call. Students are also able to check their financial aid status on The Portal just like they did on Iris.

Besides applying for financial aid, some students should consider applying for a student loan if necessary. When you make an appointment with your financial aid adviser, make sure that you ask him or her if it is necessary to apply for a student loan; if so, apply at the same time as you apply for financial aid. Please note to be eligible for a student loan the students have to be enrolled for at least six credits.

Tax transcripts were a big issue this year because the IRS has changed their policies for all colleges in America. In the past, students were able to use their W2 form from their tax preparer to enroll in college but due to the economy stresses in our country, the government now wants official documented proof of taxes. The fastest and easiest way to get your tax transcript is to have it faxed. Note that the IRS will make sure that the document that is being faxed is sent to a secure location and that the student is present at the fax machine, the agent will not send the transcript if he or she feels otherwise. You can also get your tax transcript by driving to the IRS tax office located in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Make sure you have proper ID which can be a valid driver’s license, or a New Jersey Picture ID.

Something that you must understand before calling or coming to the college is that yelling helps no one. It can be frustrating when things are not going as planned, but yelling over the phone or at the front window of the office is not going to make the process move any faster. There are only five people working in the financial aid office trying to process everything by themselves as fast as they can. This is why it is important to have everything handed in on or before the due date.

The people at the call center are there to make things easier for students and to make sure they have   everything they need before hanging up the phone. If there is still a problem after all of your information is handed in, having a relationship with your adviser makes it easier to get to the root of the problem and resolve it. The financial aid office at CCC is here to help you and to make it easier for you to receive the funds that you need. This is Cumberland County College Financial Aid office and how can we help you?


What Happened to Men’s. . . ?

Staff Writer

Now I know when you first read the headline you probably thought that this would be another rant about men taking care of their responsibilities about being good fathers, stop being dead beats dads, and stop cheating on our wives which are all valid points. However, the area I would like to discuss with the male readers is the responsibility on the way we dress. 

Now before you go on the defensive please note that I’m not talking about the brand that we wear or the over-fitted baseball hats on the top of our heads (if you over 35 years of age take the over-fitted hat off your too old for that) not even the nerd look that seems to be in nowadays. 

I’m talking about that old battle with wearing sagging jeans! Yes, this topic will be talked about again because matters have gotten worse but let me first start explaining where this movement began and why it needs to end.

 As I did my research, the time period this trend started was the late 1970’s to early 1980’s coming from the jail systems in America. First, the reason the inmate’s pants would sag down was because the inmates weren’t allowed to have belts as they could use them as weapons or sadly try to hang themselves to death wanting to get out of jail so badly. Later, sagging jeans was a jailhouse signal that if a man had his pants hanging down and his underwear was exposed, that inmate was available for intercourse. This behavior wasn’t tolerated in the jail system, as did many other things did within the jail culture. 

Unfortunately, young males have now started modeling themselves after this lifestyle trying to prove that they are cool or tough. They adopt this dress code but are ignorant about what this dress style really represents.  Not to mention, how funny it looks when you see one of these guys walking to class and trying to keep their pants up at the same time. 

To get a better insight on this tasteless style of dress, I went on campus and asked a CCC student and a college professor what were their thoughts on this topic. Brandon, a communications major at CCC response was “when going to college everyone is here to better their education. In saying that, we should also be gearing our minds for a better career which means everything should change even the clothes we wear.” 

When asking professor Author Horn about this same topic he responded “First impression is everything in today’s society and when you happen to see men of color with their pants hanging down, exposing their underwear, it sends the wrong signals to the media, society, and are looked at negatively.” 

Bottom line; take pride in yourself when on and off the college grounds. First impressions are lastly impressions; leave a positive image at home, school, or anywhere when you’re in the public eye. 


OBOC: Joyce Carol Oates visits Cumberland County College



Photo Courtesy of Google

By Brandon Read

As usual, Cumberland County College has launched their latest One Book One College literary work for the fall semester. This collection of work is the book entitled, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression,” which is written by award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates. A Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978, she is also a recipient of the National Book Award and the FEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. shares, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression” is a collection of twenty-one unforgettable stories. Oates dives into th mysterious private lives of men and women with vivid, unsparing precision and sympathy. By turns interlocutor and interpreter, magician and realist, she breaks down the psyches of ordinary people and their potential for good and evil with chilling understatement and lasting power.”

OBOC Committee Chair and CCC Professor, Sharon Kewish, shares the committee’s decision to invite Oates to campus and why they selected “Faithless” as the book for OBOC this year. Kewish states, “The OBOC committee decided to choose a collection of short stories this year instead of a novel or biography.  It took many months, actually nearly a year, to narrow our choices.  We kept seeing Joyce Carol Oates’ name in each collection of multiple authors and decided to review only collections of her stories, of which there are more than 25.  She is part of the American literature canon, critically acclaimed internationally as well as nationally.  Her stories are based on reality, many of which are ripped from the headlines.  Her stories can be read on many different levels -psychological, philosophical.”

Other works Oates has written have become national bestsellers such as, “We Were the Mulvaneys” and “Blonde,” which also was nominated for the National Book Award. The New York Times Book Review raves, “Faithless: Tales of Transgression makes its brisk incisions into the themes of terror, female passion, collapsing male identity, loneliness, divorce, revenge and not a little gun ownership… Again and again (Oates) finds new language to describe the immensity of desire.. She twists back against our assumptions, seeking always the gristly pop of revelation.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune agrees, “Outstanding… Some of (Oates) best stories to date… Rarely have drama and philosophy been so compellingly married… This volume deserves to be part of your permanent collection.” The Boston Globe concludes, “Mesmerizing… illuminating…astonishing. Not only does it cut close to the bone, it cuts close to the headlines. The writing is so vivid it’s breathless.”

The entire campus community is invited to listen to Oates reflect on her writing in the Fine and Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. If you have never had a chance to meet a renowned author or well-known person in our society, this is a chance of a lifetime. With all the things going on at CCC, this is one of the events you do not want to miss.



Music Review

By Eric Marin

Matchbox Twenty’s latest album, “North”, is making noise on the billboard charts. The album, which was released in early September by Atlantic Records, is the first one in 10 years from the group. The standout single on the album, “She’s So Mean”, is an upbeat and catchy song about dating girls with attitudes. Most of the album is like this or grittier, however, the record “I Will” is an acoustic song that touches a more romantic nerve. The album is very well written and only adds to the already legendary band’s name.

Also, on the Billboard Top 200, is debut album by rapper 2 Chainz, “Based on a T.R.U. Story.” Following the success of his underground release, “T.R.U. Religion”, 2 Chainz has taken the industry over. From songs with G.O.O.D Music label mate, Kanye West, to being featured on a Justin Beiber single, he is on everyone’s radar. The “trap rapper” isn’t known for his lyrics by far but somehow finds a way to grab the attention of listeners. The album is full of features including, Drake, Lil Wayne and even hip-hop legend Scarface. However, even with all of these appearances by other established artists, the album fails to live up to the hype that surrounded him before it dropped.

Trey Songz released a new album this past August entitled “Chapter V”. As always, the Virginia singer/rapper never disappoints. His hit single, “Heart Attack”, is an emotional song about the woes of breaking up. With little features on the album, Songz shows why he is one the most talented stars in the R&B game today. He has his usual, risqué tracks such as “Panty Wetter” and “Dive In”, along with some records where he shows off his rapping skills. On the song, “Hail Mary”, featuring Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne, he provides soothing vocals in comparison with the two hip-hop heavyweights hard knock lyrics. However, for a genuine R&B song, “Simply Amazing” is just that, amazing. 

Hip-Hop super-group Slaughterhouse drops their first album under the new-look Shady Records label entitled, “Welcome to: Our House”. It is completely different from every other Hip-hop album out at the moment. The group is comprised of emcees Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5’9, and Crooked I. All four rappers are from different parts of the country and bring something unique to each song. While the styles are not the same, they all go bar-for-bar with each other as if in competition. For fans who are familiar with the group and its members, “Welcome to: Our House” is a little more upbeat than previous projects. However, the a few days before the album dropped, the group put out an underground mixtape dubbed “On the House”. This project is more “Slaughterhouse-like” and is arguably better than the album itself.

Celebrate the holidays with Bay-Atlantic Symphony


Photo Courtesy of Samuel Levy

By Brittany Kilpatrick

With the holidays approaching, one way to participate in the festivities is by checking out local attractions that are taking place. An event being held here at Cumberland County College is the Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s Holiday Concert. The concert is taking place on Saturday, December 8th at 8:00 p.m. at the Frank Guaracini, Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center. Ticket prices range from $5 to $25 dollars. Classical holiday orchestrations will be performed.

According to Paul Herron, Executive Director of Bay-Atlantic Symphony, the concert will feature pieces by Johann Sebsastian Bach, which will include “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Another piece being played is Parchelbel’s “Canon.” The holiday concert will highlight all of the holidays that occur in December. The orchestra will be a “chamber orchestra” that will comprise of 25-27 pieces. The duration of the concert will be about an hour and forty-five minutes with a fifteen minute intermission.

When asked, “What do you think the audience will deem from this concert? What affects will it have on them?” Herron replied that he wants the audience to get a sense of “the special feeling of this time of year.” He feels that “one of the best ways to celebrate [the holidays] is through music.” He hopes the audience will get a “sense of majesty, sense of something bigger than we are.” As he expressed his feelings for the concert you could sense his love and enthusiasm for music. He described the pieces to be featuring “gorgeous string playing.” He would later add that he hopes the audience can sense how this time of year and festive music can demonstrate a “sense of this mystery of life, of majesty of mystery,” that “bonds people together.”

Herron feels that students would benefit from seeing the concert in numerous ways. “They will see professional musicians performing…they will better understand what it is to be a musician.” He also believes that during this stressful time of year students would benefit from seeing the performance because it would help “alleviate” stress. Students would also obtain “ a better understanding of the architecture of music.” This understanding would be important for students studying music.” He explained that when you listen to compositions by Bach “you can hear how he built [the music] block by block. You can hear the architecture of it, you can hear how it’s formed, how it comes together to form something magnificent.”

According to Greg Hambleton, director at the Frank Guaracini, Jr. Fine and Performing Arts Center, he feels that students would benefit from seeing the concert, “They [will] see first class musicianship…” He also talked highly of Jed Gaylin, the conductor of the Bay-Atlantic Symphony.

The Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s Holiday Concert is a way to celebrate this festive time of year. While watching this performance audience members will leave with their own impressions. Hopefully, many will leave the performance feeling a sense of festivity.

EBooks: Students taking advantage of technology

By Devan Paleschic

Everyone is aware that technology is always finding a way to change our way of life. One way that technology is changing the way we do things is the way we access information for our education. Today many students are using online textbooks or “Ebooks”, in place of the traditional textbook. But are these online books really worth it? 

According to The Washington Post writers, Ylan Q. Mui and Susan Kinzie, students spend on average $700 to $1,100 on textbooks annually. That breaks down to be between $350 and $500 a semester on textbooks alone. With the invention of the Ebook, students are now able to cut back the amount of money they are spending on textbooks each semester. Websites such as provide students with an easy way to find the textbooks for class without having to spend the same amount they would in the college bookstore. 

One class that the majority of the student body is required to take is Effective Speech class. The book for this class “Guide to Public Speaking” can be found in the bookstore for $88 new. The Ebook on is $32, saving the student $56 on one textbook. 

Ebooks not only save the student money on textbooks, but it also provides them with many other benefits. Ebooks are loaded with many extra features to aid students in studying. Some online textbooks come with programs that have online

quizzes where students can practice skills they are supposed to learn. The books also provide students with tools such as a highlighter to highlight the online text, and notes that they can place with in the book to refer back to later. Eric Sparks, a sophomore at Rutgers University, says that Ebooks are much more convenient than the standard textbook, “I can keep all of my books in one place, rather than having to rush out to my car to grab more books in between classes.” 

There are going to be some drawbacks to using an online textbook. Many people like to be able to hold the actual textbook in their hands rather than read off of a computer screen. Dani Leach, a sophomore here at Cumberland County says, “I would much rather be able to flip the pages of a book, and not have to rely on technology that can work one day and might not the next.” 

Online books might not be the best option for everyone. It would be difficult to use an online book to its full potential if the student doesn’t have access to reliable Internet, or some source of technology where they could access their book any time they need. There are many websites students can review to compare prices of Ebooks, and find one that could be useful for them.’s website is very easy to access, and has a large selection of textbooks. Another medium to get Ebooks is on the Nook, by Barnes and Noble. They have an application called “Nook Study” that can be downloaded onto your laptop or directly onto your Nook. Many of the Ebook websites offer free trial periods and allow you to access the text to see if you are comfortable with it. Whether or not you find these online textbooks useful and worth dealing with the technology, all depends on personal preference.


Digital camera’s digital takover

Photo courtesy of Google images

By Nathanael Vega

How can one tell when a photo contains too much of a specific color? What is composition and why does that matter in a photograph? Everybody takes pictures.  But where exactly is the art in photography?

For students who are interested in learning about photography, they will need to understand that it involves a lot more than just learning how to take decent pictures with a camera. They will have to learn that developing enough confdence to go to different locations to take pictures of people, objects and scenery, outside of their own realm, is necessary. Students will also have to consider the moral and legal aspects of taking pictures in public.

In additon, it is important that students consider how far they will be able to go with their knowledge of photography. Would it be strictly for their own personal interests? Would they be able to make any money off it in the future, either by freelancing or by working for a business? With everything that has happened to businesses, because of the economy crisis, will there be a high demand for photographers in the long run? Will they be able to afford the necessary camera equipment, such as state of the art camera lenses and lighting kits, needed in order to succeed with a career in photography? Through self discovery, students will be able to figure out their preferred style of photography (such as studio or field work).

There is a big importance in respecting an individual’s copyrighted, or legally protected, artwork. According to Ms. Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Art and Coordinator of Fine Arts & Graphic Design at CCC, “it is a legal process to get an official copyright that is paid for. Although if you write that something is copyrighted on a site or on the photo that may hold up in court.” Students should also desire to protect their own artwork with copyright and learn exactly what their rights are in the legal system, should someone ever try to steal their original work.

CCC doesn’t provide a photography program to its students, but it does offer a course that introduces digital photography. Students will be tasked to complete specific goals in the field after learning the basics, from taking random aesthetic photos (capturing the beauty of the subjects of their choice), to composing staged portraits.

During class, students will share and compare their photographs and they will also learn how to edit their photos, adjusting the lighting intensities and/or color balances for instance, on Adobe Photoshop. Every student will be working on a Macintosh computer and, for those who are not experienced with using the Macintosh operating system, they will have the benefit of trying it out and determining if it’s the right kind of tool for them. For CCC students who are interested in photography, perhaps an introductory course like this may be something to explore.