In this issue:
General News    |    Featured Tool    |    College Planning    |    Who's Who    |    Financial Aid
Scholarships & Other Aid Opportunities    |    Financial Literacy    |    Student Loan Management    |    Calendar

General News

Classic Movie Quotes for College Grads

With graduation rapidly approaching, your soon-to-be college grads are likely hoping someone will "make them an offer they can't refuse1." While we can only hope "the force2" will be with them as they begin their next chapter, we can offer some practical tips and information to help them along the way. These classic quotes from the stars can help your students shoot for the moon.

"Show me the money!" (Jerry Maguire, 1996)
Like Maguire, many of your students will soon be looking for ways to make the big bucks, but, as graduation approaches, they also need to prepare to repay any money borrowed for school. Show them the money they borrowed by encouraging them to review their federal student loan information on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). Remind students that this resource does not include information about private student loans and to contact their private loan servicer(s) directly to begin repayment. Share to help your students learn more about student loan management.

"Say hello to my little friend." (Scarface, 1983)
Networking can be the key to finding a job after graduation. Your students have already begun building a network of fellow students, professors and college administrators. Encourage them to ask peers and professionals to serve as references for job applications. Remind students that a simple "hello" can get the ball rolling on a friendly conversation, which could lead to beneficial career networking.

"To infinity… and beyond!" (Toy Story, 1995)
It's good to have goals. It's even better to have a clearly defined, tangible and realistic plan to help reach those goals. Encourage students to think about not only their life right after college, but where they're headed in the long run. Ask them where they'd like to be in five, 10 or even 20 years from now, and have them write down their plan to achieve those goals. Remind them to save their written plan in a safe place and to review it periodically to help keep their eyes on the prize.

"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you." (Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971)
While some college grads are actively planning ways to become career-ready over the summer, many are simply counting the days until they're free from class schedules, tests and homework. There's nothing wrong with enjoying some free time, but the summer months could be well spent perfecting resumes, sharpening interview skills and job hunting. Keep students informed about upcoming job fairs and remind them to actively seek job postings.

"Here's looking at you, kid." (Casablanca, 1942)
As you know, first impressions are crucial. Encourage students to look their best at job fairs and interviews. If they're unsure of how to dress, remind them that it's usually better to be overdressed (within reason) than underdressed. While it can be expensive, investing in professional attire could ultimately pay off in the end.

"I'll be back…" (Terminator, 1984)
There are many reasons to go back to school down the road. Perhaps your students will need graduate education to advance in their career field, or perhaps they're lifetime learners who value continuing education. Whatever the reason, encourage students to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of additional education and ensure it supports reaching their personal objectives.

1: The Godfather, 1972
2: Star Wars, 1977

Program Spotlight: Oklahoma GEAR UP

GEAR UP is a federally-funded grant program designed to encourage states and organizations to help low-income middle and high school students prepare and plan for post-secondary education. The Oklahoma program provides direct services to 24 qualified suburban and rural Oklahoma school districts. Education specialists and college liaisons provide tools and support to help students become college-ready. Students receive college application and financial aid assistance, college and university visits and tours, standardized test preparation and assessments and other services. Parents learn about the college admission process through workshops and empowerment programs. School districts receive professional development and consultation support to help schools teach college readiness and comply with the GEAR UP grant requirements.

In 2013, OCAP partnered with Oklahoma GEAR UP to share information and publications about college planning, financial aid and personal finance with GEAR UP schools across Oklahoma. Click here to learn more about Oklahoma GEAR UP.

Featured Tool

Featured Tool: Your Transition to College

Your Transition to College

If your seniors have taken the ACT, filled out the FAFSA, toured their favorite college campuses and applied to their top three school picks, then they must be fully prepared for college, right? Perhaps not. Many of your students may have no idea how different college is from high school, and they may not be entirely prepared for the responsibilities of being a college student.

The transition from high school to college will be easier if your students are armed with some basic information about what to expect as a new college student. For example, in high school, students' time is planned out by others; in college, students manage their own time (and are held responsible for how that time is used). Here are some of the major differences your students will find in their transition to college.

In high school:

  1. Teachers provide information you missed when you're absent.
  2. Students are often told what to do and corrected when they get out of line.
  3. Classes usually have no more than 35 students.

In college:

  1. Professors often expect you to seek notes from classmates when you're absent.
  2. Students are responsible for their own actions and the consequences of their actions.
  3. Some classes may have hundreds of students.

This and other "college knowledge" can be found in UCanGo2's publication, Your Transition to College. Help your students succeed in the next big chapter by sharing Your Transition to College with them and their parents.

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Who's Who

Do You Know Amy Lee?

Amy Lee

Meet Amy, executive director for the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education (OCEE).

Tell us about OCEE and your job duties for the organization?

OCEE is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization. Our mission is to promote economic and financial literacy education for all of Oklahoma. We are affiliated with the Council for Economic Education, a national network of state councils and university-based centers.

We accomplish our mission by training K-12 teachers how to teach the principles of economics and personal finance. We also provide student competitions and other personal finance and economic education resources to support our teachers across the state of Oklahoma.

We believe that ensuring our students understand economics and know how to manage their financial resources are the keys to personal growth and development, as well as the growth of our economy.

In my job as executive director, I make sure that the OCEE mission is being accomplished. I work with the board of directors and other stakeholders to make sure that economic and personal finance education is a key learning component in educating our youth. I also work with our board of directors and community leaders to make sure that funding is in place to carry out our mission.

What services and programs does OCEE provide for Oklahoma's teachers and students?

We provide teacher training and workshops, student competitions and teaching resources. This school year we have provided workshops such as teaching economics in U.S. history as well as middle school world geography. We provide three workshops across the state focused on teaching the 14 points of personal finance and two personal finance summer institutes for teachers. Our student competitions include Drawing for Dollar$ and the OCEE Economic and Personal Financial challenge. Additionally, we partner with the Federal Reserve Bank, Oklahoma City branch, to provide the Outstanding Economic Student Awards. New this year, we will host two networking and professional development events for teachers.

What do you like most about your job?

I love my job because the mission is so vital; it is a daily aspect of all of our lives. Every morning, after I wake up, I turn on the news and there is a story that reflects the need for personal finance and economic education. Whether it's a story about our economy or a business, or a commercial trying to sway our decisions for the day, it energizes me every day to know that there is a lot to accomplish.

This year, personal finance education is a high school graduation requirement. What do you hope students gain from this education as they enter life after high school?

I hope the students will embark on this new chapter of their lives with the tools and skills they need to make wise personal finance choices. Most of all, I hope the very same day a student leaves the classroom of a personal finance class, the students will feel empowered to start thinking differently about their daily choices. Do they need a coffee every day after school? What do they do with the credit card application they got in the mail today? Do they need to make changes in their work ethic at school to be able to get a job that supports the lifestyle they want?

More than any other class a student will receive in high school, their personal finance education will be the most relevant and valuable set of skills they will learn and use every day of their lives.

How can someone volunteer or support your organization?

A great way to get involved is by volunteering at our OCEE Economic and Personal Finance challenge, held every spring. Financial support is also greatly needed to carry out the mission and to support our teachers in carrying out the Passport to Personal Financial Literacy law . Without funding attached to this law, the task of providing training to approximately one to three teachers at every high school across the state is quite challenging. For more information or to donate to OCEE please visit

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College Planning

2014 Summer Academies

2014 Summer AcademiesAre you looking for a fun way to get your students excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), keep them learning throughout the summer, and increase their odds of attending and graduating from college? Tell your students all about the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's FREE Summer Academies!

This year, 31 Summer Academies focusing on STEM subjects will be offered to students entering 8th - 12th grade at college and university campuses across Oklahoma. Participating students will gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge career fields, including aeronautics, engineering, environmental conservation, forensic science and more. Academies last from four days to two weeks; some even allow students to live on campus and get a taste of college life.

Summer Academies are designed to give students at all academic levels the opportunity to increase interest and confidence in STEM subjects, as well as expand their career and educational aspirations. More than 73 percent of the students who attend Summer Academies go directly to college after high school, and more than 80 percent go on to earn at least a bachelor's degree.

Remind your students and their parents that there's no cost to participate in the 2014 Summer Academies, but registration is required. Students must enroll now before the sessions fill up! For a complete list of 2014 Summer Academies and enrollment information, visit or call 1.800.858.1840 (toll free).

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Financial Aid

Ask the Expert: Using Professional Judgment to Handle Special Circumstances

The Higher Education Act gives the Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) the authority to make adjustments, on the basis of documentation, to allow for treatment of an individual with special circumstances. Since federal need analysis methodology is based on a "snapshot" of the family's financial situation on the day they complete the FAFSA, the application can lead to an incomplete estimate of the family's true ability to pay educational expenses. The intent of the law is to enable a response to situations that can't be fully anticipated in legislation or regulation. This authority is commonly referred to as professional judgment (PJ). To account for the special circumstances of a student, the FAA can choose to use PJ to adjust certain elements of a student's Cost of Attendance (COA), to adjust data elements that determine a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and, in some cases to perform a dependency override.

Institutions should develop policies and procedures that address what circumstances or conditions will be considered when PJ is being used. While each case must be addressed on a case-by-case basis, institutions must also ensure that students are treated consistently when taking into account economic or other unforeseen circumstances.

Reasons for any adjustments must be appropriately documented in a student's file. The FAA must resolve any conflicting information prior to making any adjustments. The law is clear that an aid administrator's adjustment is final and can't be appealed to the Department of Education.

While this process can be labor intensive, these students are frequently the most in need of financial assistance. Aid administrators shouldn't hesitate to use PJ when it's warranted by the student's financial situation. Chapter 5 of the Application and Verification Guide in the Federal Student Aid Handbook is a great resource for aid administrators to use when exercising PJ.

What's New on IFAP?

Electronic Announcements

150% Direct Subsidized Loan Limit
Gainful Employment

Common Manual Update

The latest version of the Integrated Common Manual is available on the Common Manual website. (external class)   As always, if you have questions about the manual, contact our Compliance department at 405.234.4432, 800.247.0420 (toll free) or

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Scholarships and Other Aid Opportunities

StartWithFAFSA.orgAre your students stuck on what to wear to prom? If so, the Stuck at Prom scholarship contest could help them get unstuck from the prom attire dilemma, while simultaneously earning money for college and your school. To enter, students need to design and create their prom attire using Duck® Brand duct tape, submit pictures and answer a few questions about their project. Applications are due May 23. Learn more at

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Financial Literacy

Finding Fun under the Oklahoma Sun

Most agree that winter has worn out its welcome, and warmer temps are long overdue. To usher in spring, let's explore some great, close-to-home options for celebrating warmer weather.

For thrill seekers in the mood for extreme adventure, consider these exhilarating adventures:

  • Soar through the air and get a bird's-eye view of the Kiamichi Mountains as you try your hand at paragliding in Talihina, OK. Oklahoma Paragliding offers you the chance to start your paragliding adventure with a tandem instructional flight, where you'll learn the basics of paragliding and experience flight with an instructor. They offer lessons, from introductory to advanced, to learn the skills needed to fly on your own. Paragliding flights take place in Buffalo Mountain Flight Park, where gentle hills and suitable nearby mountaintops provide a place for takeoff, and mowed, flat fields are used for landing.
  • If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground (or better yet, below it), consider visiting Alabaster Caverns State Park in Freedom, OK. The highlight of this 200-acre state park is a cavern formed of alabaster, a rare form of gypsum, which is the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that's open to the public, and the only gypsum show cave in the U.S. Visitors can enjoy daily guided cave tours that include interpretation by a guide and a well-lit path.

For those seeking kid-friendly fun, Oklahoma has much to offer you, too.

  • If your tiny tot is a thrill seeker, too, check out Kiddie Park in Bartlesville, OK. This amusement park is designed for children 12 and under and has provided wholesome family fun since 1947. The park offers 16 brightly painted rides that don't go very fast, far or high, including a Ferris wheel, airplanes, carousel, bumper cars and many others. Parents can get in on the excitement, too, by taking a ride on the passenger train that circles the park. Each park ride takes one ticket and tickets are only 25 cents each.
  • For a hands-on educational experience, visit the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum in Seminole, OK. One of the world's largest children's museums, it welcomes thousands of children each year to experience the grown-up world from a kid's perspective. Kids can try out career choices through play and pretend while also having fun with the popular bubble factory and 16-ft. climbing maze. The museum also includes outdoor activities in the form of a miniature train ride and a large castle maze to navigate.

If you're a history buff, consider these adventures that really bring the past to life.

  • Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show in Pawnee, OK is one of the longest-running, historically accurate Wild West shows in the country. This sensational recreation of Pawnee Bill's traveling Western entertainment extravaganza begins in downtown Pawnee with a parade and march to the famous Pawnee Bill Ranch. Originally held in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show featured everything from trick roping and riding, to live cowboy ballads and frontier chariot races. Witness all of this and more during the last three Saturdays in June, and experience the drama and spectacle of performing cowboys, Native Americans and skilled horseback riders.
  • This June, Chautauqua in the Park: World War I will be held at the Humphrey Heritage Village in Enid, OK. Chautauqua is a series of lively presentations, lectures, concerts and historical performances that dig deep into history and have fun while doing it. Each evening features a different scholar who gives a presentation in character followed by a Q&A session with the audience, first in character then as a scholar. During the day, there are two workshops, each led by a different scholar about a topic pertaining to either his character or some facet of the historical time frame of his character. Make an evening of it and enjoy the ambiance of a summer night under the tent while learning about a fascinating time in history on the 100 year anniversary of World War I. Characters at the 2014 event include Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Looking for more? Additional adventures and more information about each of these entertaining options can be found at

OKMM's K-12 Passport Resources

You may know that the Passport to Financial Literacy Act of 2007 requires Oklahoma school districts to teach 14 areas of personal money management instruction to students sometime between their 7th and 12th grade years. You probably also know that this year's graduating class is the first who must satisfactorily complete each of the 14 standards before they can graduate. What you may not know is that Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM) can help your school district enhance its current Passport to Financial Literacy curriculum.

OKMM offers print and online resources that can supplement the lessons and materials you're already using in the classroom. We invite you to take advantage of our high school Your Money Matters guide and its complementary lesson plans that align with the following Passport standards.

  • Banking and financial services.
  • Savings and investing.
  • Understanding loans and borrowing money (student loans).
  • Understanding interest and credit card debt.
  • Identity theft and fraud.

To order classroom copies of OKMM's Your Money Matters guide* or to speak to OKMM's outreach staff about how we can support your financial education efforts, email or call 800.970.OKMM (toll free).

*Print orders are subject to available inventory; quantities are limited. Educators are also welcome to download the PDF version from our website at no charge to print as needed.

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Student Loan Management

Updated Contact Information for OCAP Default Prevention

Effective March 31, 2014, Student Assistance Corporation (SAC) will perform default prevention services for the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) FFELP portfolio. Updated contact information for student loan borrowers, lenders and servicers, and Oklahoma campuses is provided below.

Lenders and servicers should direct all Default Aversion Assistance Request (DAAR) related correspondence and inquiries to:

OCAP borrowers should be directed to contact:

For default prevention services, Oklahoma schools will continue to work directly with OCAP's default prevention team:

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