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

Valentine's Day Do's and Don'ts

InfographicFeb. 14 is the day to show your loved ones how much you care - not how big your bank account is. Here are some do's and don'ts to make this a memorable and affordable Valentine's Day.

When choosing a gift:

Do be thoughtful. Get him his favorite candy or buy her the book you know she's been meaning to read. You can show that you care without shelling out a ton of cash.

Don't be practical. Unless your darling specifically asks for it, Valentine's Day is not the time to give appliances or exercise equipment. Period.

If you've decided not to exchange gifts to save money this year:

Do surprise your sweetie. Make a card, compose a poem or just write a sincere note. You'll get bonus points for the personal touch, while still playing by the rules.

Don't go out and buy a gift anyway. You'll only earn a penalty for spending the money you agreed to save, and possibly leave your significant other feeling guilty for not getting you something.

If you're going out to dinner:

Do pick somewhere that's special to the two of you. Did you meet at the taco truck down the street? Did you stop at an all-night diner on the way to your honeymoon? Make this day about reliving memories while making new ones.

Don't dine too fine. Your date won't be impressed by the fancy wine list if you have a panic attack when the waiter brings the check. Just pick a restaurant you can afford.

If you're staying in:

Do cook a meal together. You get to spend extra time together in the kitchen before sitting down to your meal. Light a candle and leave the dishes until tomorrow (you might want to rinse them, though).

Don't order-in and try to pass it off as your own cooking. You will get caught. Watch any romantic comedy if you need proof.

If you really want to make it special:

Do "unplug." Turn off the phones, television and laptops for the evening. Focus on each other and spending this quality time enjoying each other's company and relaxing.

Don't stress out. Keep your plans simple and roll with the punches if things don't go perfectly. Just think - next Valentine's Day, you can share a laugh over this year's burnt heart-shaped cookies.

Program Spotlight: Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP)

The Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP), administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is designed to recruit and retain math and science teachers in Oklahoma. Successful candidates are reimbursed eligible student loan expenses. To qualify, applicants must:

For more information about TSEIP including additional stipulations, resources and how to apply, visit

Featured Tool

Featured Tool: Student Loan Terminology Electronic Flyer

Student Loan TermsYour borrowers have many decisions to make concerning student loans throughout their higher education journey. Whether they're deciding if they need to borrow student loans, how much to borrow or which repayment plan to choose, it's important they're equipped with timely information every step of the way.

Understanding basic student loan terminology is invaluable to your borrowers. With that in mind, Ready Set Repay has created an electronic flyer defining 20 basic student loan terms used by the U.S. Department of Education. Consider including this flyer in your electronic award letters and sharing it with your student borrowers during entrance counseling.

Click here to download the Student Loan Terminology electronic flyer to use in emails or to print. We also have a black and white version available. For more tools to support your efforts to assist Oklahoma's student loan borrowers, visit

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Who's Who

Do You Know Carol Alexander?


Meet Carol, Oklahoma's Promise scholarship coordinator, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

How long have you been with the Regents and specifically, Oklahoma's Promise?

I'm in my 20th year with the Regents and have covered some territory. I began in Accounting and Compliance at OCAP (formerly OGSLP) and then moved to the Regents' core offices in Academics, the Chancellor's office and Student Services (now branched to Scholarship Administration). I've been working with the Oklahoma's Promise program for 17 of those 20 years.

What are some of the biggest changes you've witnessed to the Oklahoma's Promise program?

There have been so many changes; however, the purpose of the program has been consistent. We strive to increase the number of college graduates in Oklahoma by encouraging more students to aspire and prepare academically for college. Our first class of high school graduates had about 1,600 students; our classes now have around 10,000 each, so that took some adjusting. Some of the recent changes to the program include a second income check at high school graduation and college GPA requirements for the students. Implementing these changes has taken the cooperation of several departments in our agency as well as the colleges and universities. Everyone has worked together very well, which has made for a fairly smooth transition.

If you could emphasize one key point to families applying for the program, what would it be and why?

Follow through with the application whether it is online or paper. At present, you are required to mail in a signature page and income documentation regardless of the type of application you file. Don't assume your student is enrolled until you receive confirmation from our office. All correspondence for online applications goes through email, and correspondence for paper applications goes through the regular mail.

You work with students and parents from across the state on a daily basis. As the mother of three children, do you have a funny "parent" story of your own you'd like to share?

We've tried to instill the importance of education in our children throughout the years, and college is a part of their plan. However, the girls do have some ideas for life beyond college. For example, their little brother will play in the NBA, make lots of money and the entire family will get together at his house for the holidays so we can all be together! I just shake my head and smile.

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College Planning

UCanGo2 Offers a New FAFSA Resource,

StartWithFAFSA.orgAs you know, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important step for students on the path to college. Completing the FAFSA is essential for obtaining federal and some state financial aid, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs and federal student loans. To help students and parents understand the application process, UCanGo2 is pleased to introduce our latest resource,

While exploring this interactive site, students and parents can browse information about specific FAFSA topics, watch FAFSA video tutorials in English or Spanish and submit questions and comments, to which one of our helpful specialists or trusted community partners will respond. New topics and answers to important questions will be uploaded weekly. The site also offers:

UCanGo2 FAFSA information for counselors and the FAFSA Toolkit for Counselors are available at's Counselor section.

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Financial Aid

Upcoming NASFAA CORE Training Sessions

OCAP will offer two National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) CORE training sessions in March. NASFAA CORE materials are designed to teach financial aid fundamentals to financial aid professionals. The first session, Cost of Attendance, describes each cost component used to develop student budgets, and presents how financial aid administrators develop the cost of attendance for their institutions. The second session, Federal Methodology, provides an overview of need analysis and an explanation of the Federal Methodology (FM) models, formulas and automatic zero expected family contribution (EFC) alternative. Examples are used to demonstrate the computation of an EFC under the Federal Methodology.

These sessions will be offered March 6 at the OCAP office in Oklahoma City. The morning session, Cost of Attendance, will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 12 p.m. The afternoon session, Federal Methodology, will begin at 1:30 p.m. and conclude by 3:30 p.m. Individuals who complete either of these training sessions will be eligible to take the corresponding NASFAA credentialing exams at no charge. This is a savings of $100 (per test) off the normal exam fee charged by NASFAA.

There is no charge for this training and registration is limited to 24 participants per session. Participants can register for one or both sessions. Each session requires a separate registration.

Register for Session 1: Cost of Attendance
Register for Session 2: Federal Methodology

If you have questions about these training opportunities, please contact Scott DeBoard at

What's New on IFAP?

Dear Colleague Letters


Electronic Announcements


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

Graduation CapDid you know that depression and isolation affect more than 6.5 million Americans ages 65 and older? Get crafty this Valentine's Day and show that you care, and you could win a $4,000 scholarship for college. To enter's "Love Letters" scholarship contest, simply take a picture of your handmade Valentine's Day card for a senior citizen and submit it at, where you'll also find tips for success and official contest rules. The deadline to enter is Feb. 15.

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Financial Literacy

Ask the Expert: How Can I Make the Most of My Tax Refund?

If you anticipate receiving a tax refund this year, you've probably already imagined the many ways to spend the extra money. This year, consider these suggestions for maximizing the benefits of your refund.

— Save It. Creating and following a savings plan is a great way to make your money last - and with America Saves Week rapidly approaching, this is the perfect time start. Saving gives you the financial freedom to plan ahead for future vacations, large purchases, retirement, college, or unexpected expenses. Once you've establish a plan, stick with it to maximize the impact on your finances.

— Give It. Charitable organizations provide wonderful opportunities to invest in your community. Before you give, research the organization's credibility by checking out Charity Navigator, GuideStar and the Better Business Bureau. A little research will help ensure your money is truly going to benefit a cause you believe in.

— Use it. Do you have an unpaid credit card balance that just won't go away? Consider using your tax refund to pay it off once and for all. If your debt is more than the amount of your tax refund, consider using your refund to kick-off a debt elimination plan. Use a system like the debt snowball and, over time, you can become debt free.

For more information about taxes and managing your refund, explore the consumers page at

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Student Loan Management

Reminder to Financial Aid Partners: Double-check Your School's Exit Interview Status

Now that financial aid has posted to your students' accounts, it's a great time to double-check that your winter graduates, and students who didn't return for spring, have completed their Stafford Exit Counseling.

It's also a great time to plan ahead for your spring graduates. Beat the rush and request an exit counseling session with OCAP specialist, Scott DeBoard at

2014 Poverty Guidelines Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2014 Annual Poverty Guidelines in the Jan. 22 Federal Register. The chart is also available on the HHS website.

Poverty guidelines are used to determine eligibility for the Economic Hardship Deferment and income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers earning more than 150 percent of the poverty guideline would not qualify for these options.

Coming Soon: Draft Cohort Default Rates

The Department of Education (ED) will soon release draft FY 2011 three-year cohort default rates. This marks the first year for which a school will be subject to loss of eligibility if it has three consecutive years of three-year cohort default rates of 30 percent or more.

ED will electronically transmit each school's cohort default rate notification package using the school's Student Aid Internet Gateway destination point. Any problems with the transmission must be reported to ED within five business days.

You may challenge the draft cohort default rate by submitting an Incorrect Data Challenge online through the electronic Cohort Default Rate Appeals (eCDRA) application, or by sending a Participation Rate Index Challenge to ED. The 45-day timeframe for submitting a challenge begins on the sixth business day following the announced transmission date, as posted on IFAP.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for receiving your draft cohort default rate:

If you have questions or need more information, contact ED's Operation Performance Division's Default Prevention and Management Hotline at 202-377-4259 or

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