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:: OCAP News Headlines ::

July Edition of Your Bottom Line Now Available

Oklahoma Money Matters presents the July edition of Your Bottom Line, a newsletter produced with personal finance organizations, educators and consumers in mind—now published monthly!

Read the current edition.


OCAP Names New Executive Director

OCAP Executive Director Melissa NealWe're pleased to share with you that Melissa Neal, who has worked for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for more than 12 years, was named executive director for the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) effective July 2. In this role, Neal provides strategic leadership for the agency and oversees all operational, fiduciary, regulatory and educational functions. Neal’s selection follows the recent retirement of Mary Heid, who served as executive director of OCAP since 2014.

In her prior role as Educational Services Manager, Neal led the State Regents’ and OCAP’s financial literacy initiative, Oklahoma Money Matters, and OCAP’s financial aid training programs, and cultivated an extensive network of campus and community partnerships to strengthen student, parent and service provider access to personal finance, borrower education and student loan management information, tools and expertise. Neal has strong relationships within Oklahoma higher education and the financial education and workforce development communities, serving on the Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, including more than two years as board president; Oklahoma Council for Economic Education; National Council of Higher Education Resources College Access and Success workgroup; Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Education Advisory Committee and a variety of other industry committees and advisory councils.

We look forward to Neal's leadership as executive director and to continued collaboration with our campus, community and industry partners as a provider of college access, aid awareness, financial literacy and student loan management programs and services.

Neal may be reached at (405) 234-4253 or mneal@ocap.org.


May/June Edition of Your Bottom Line Now Available

Oklahoma Money Matters presents the May/June edition of Your Bottom Line, a bi-monthly newsletter produced with personal finance organizations, educators and consumers in mind.

Read the current edition.


OKcollegestart.org Spring Workshops

OKcollegestart.org, the State Regents’ student portal for college planning, hosted five training workshops this spring to instruct educators on ways to use the student portal and electronic transcript exchange system. High school counselors, whether new or experienced, were encouraged to attend. These workshops were held at the State Regents’ office and on the campuses of University Center of Southern Oklahoma in Ardmore, Oklahoma State University — Tulsa and Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Enid.

Site features explored included:

“OKcollegestart is designed to assist educators as they prepare students to be college and career ready,” said Theresa Shaklee, Student Portal Coordinator for OKcollegestart.org. “We’re pleased to be part of the support system for not only counselors, teachers and administrators, but also for the students and families they serve.” OKcollegestart.org provides free resources to help students and parents plan, apply and pay for education and training beyond high school. All user registrations come with a free email address that can be used to communicate with counselors and colleges. The dynamic Professional Center, a website for Oklahoma schools to use in conjunction with OKcollegestart.org, allows counselors to send transcripts from high school to high school and from high school to college, follow student activities on OKcollegestart.org and customize academic plans for individual students.


Ready Set Repay Offers New Videos

Ready Set Repay, the default prevention initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), strives to help student loan borrowers make smart borrowing decisions and successfully repay their student loans. We receive a lot of questions about paying for school and repaying student loans, so we've developed and updated videos answering some of our most frequently asked questions:

These short videos outline specific steps to address these common issues. The videos are available on OCAP’s YouTube Channel and on the Videos page at ReadySetRepay.org. Feel free to share these videos or link to them from your website.


Ready Set Repay Offers New Video: Student Loan Repayment Plan Options

Ready Set Repay, the default prevention initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), strives to help student loan borrowers make smart borrowing decisions and successfully repay their student loans. There are several different student loan repayment options for borrowers to consider, so we created Student Loan Repayment Plan Options, a short video that explains the eight different repayment options available.

The video is available on OCAP’s YouTube Channel and on the Videos page at ReadySetRepay.org. Feel free to share this video or link to it from your website.

Image of video title page reading Student Loan Repayment Options, OCAP



Oklahoma Money Matters Offers New Video: What Factors Determine Your Credit Score?

Oklahoma Money Matters, the financial education initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), strives to help people take control of their money and make positive financial choices. Learning to manage credit is a crucial piece of the personal finance puzzle, so we created What Factors Determine Your Credit Score?, a short video that explains the six basic categories that factor into your credit score and simple steps you can take to maintain a positive credit history.

The video is available on OCAP’s YouTube Channel and on the Videos page at OklahomaMoneyMatters.org. Feel free to share this video or link to it from your website. 


Credit Factors video thumbnail


2017 College Application Week Results & Call for Photos

We’re pleased to announce the results of our statewide 2017 College Application Week (CAW) efforts. The following numbers represent all schools registered for the CAW 2017 sponsored by the Oklahoma College Assistance Program and OK GEAR UP program!

We saw a tremendous increase over CAW 2016, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger CAW this year! Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to our students.

Do you have any photos or video footage from your College App Week that you’d like to share?

We’d like to showcase your CAW activities in our next promotion video for CAW 2018. To submit your photos or video footage, email them to Landis Tindell at ltindell@ocap.org.

If you provide photos or video footage, we’re required to make sure that release forms are signed for the students who appear in the images you send.

Please let us know if you have any questions.


New Poster on Interest Capitalization of Student Loans

Ready Set Repay, the default prevention initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP), is pleased to share our latest tool for financial aid partners: our new Interest Capitalization poster!

As part of OCAP’s continuing mission to help you teach students across the state how to make smart borrowing decisions and successfully repay their student loans, we are constantly developing new educational materials. Our latest poster focuses on the long-term benefits to students of making interest payments toward student loans while still in college.

Click here to preview or print the poster. For more financial aid and default prevention resources, visit the Partners section at ReadySetRepay.org.


The Oklahoma FAFSA Data Portal is Available!

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) are now offering the Oklahoma FAFSA Data Portal (OK-FDP), a free online tool to help counselors, principals and mentors better assist their high school seniors to successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

By giving authorized individuals from Oklahoma school districts access to student-level information on FAFSA completion status, the OK-FDP will allow educators to provide more targeted assistance to their students. This is instrumental in increasing FAFSA completion rates – especially among first-generation students pursuing postsecondary education. Learn more and get started here!

OCAP’s Partnership with Student Connections is an Investment in Student Success

The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) recognizes the impact default prevention has on the mutual success of institutions and borrowers. Helping schools excel in this area is what led Mary Heid, OCAP’s executive director, to work with Student Connections, a nonprofit affiliate of USA Funds focused on enhancing student success in college and career. Under Heid’s leadership, OCAP forged an arrangement with Student Connections to provide default rate management support to 26 Oklahoma campuses with CDRs (cohort default rates) above 10 percent. The agreement provides the schools with the ability to offer comprehensive grace period and default prevention counseling to their borrowers.

Since OCAP began working with Student Connections, it has seen marked improvements in beneficiary school CDRs. “Our schools all seem extremely happy with the service we’ve been able to offer them through Student Connections,” said Heid. “Our state CDR rate has been declining at a greater pace than the national rate, which makes us feel really good that our service is working.”

Student Connections grace counseling informs borrowers of all options, which may include a return to school. In all cases, the objective is to determine the course of action best for the borrower’s individual circumstances. Since the OCAP partnership with Student Connections began, students who underwent grace counseling were more than 40 percent less likely to enter delinquency on their student loans.

Whether it’s measured in reduced default and delinquency rates or in the hundreds of millions of cured federal loan dollars, it’s clear the OCAP-Student Connections partnership has helped preserve the value proposition of higher education in Oklahoma. As Heid says, “I think this investment in our students and institutions is rather unique, and we are very pleased that we’ve been able to do that with an industry partner that shares our vision of student success.”

Read more about the Student Connections-OCAP partnership at the Student Connections website.

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:: Our Website Network ::

OK-CAN     UCanGo2.org

ReadySetRepay.org           OklahomaMoneyMatters.org

OKcollegestart.org      StartWithFAFSA.org