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

OK-CAN Update

OCAP logo

Are you a member yet? The newly launched Oklahoma College Access Network (OK-CAN) is up and running and ready for you to join. As of July 1, OK-CAN has 97 members representing 58 organizations, and membership is growing every week.

OK-CAN’s primary goal as a collaboration of various education and community partners is to increase college access for underserved families. The first step is identifying what each OK-CAN member can offer in the way of services, information or resources, with the ultimate goal of working together to find cost-effective, strategic and efficient methods for eliminating barriers to postsecondary education.

To support this important mission, the first face-to-face OK-CAN meeting will be held July 27 at our office in Oklahoma City. We hope you’ll join us in helping Oklahoma families see the value of education beyond high school.

Join OK-CAN today! (external link) If you have questions, contact Penny Gandy, Outreach Services Manager, at 405.234.4364 or

Financial Friday May Be The ‘Answer’ You’re Looking For

Submit your Financial Friday questionDo your clients or students have financial questions you don’t feel comfortable or qualified to answer? Are you looking to provide them with more resources, but you don’t have the time or staff dedicated to develop new initiatives?

Now’s your chance to take advantage of Financial Friday, Oklahoma Money Matters’ online question and answer forum that allows people to anonymously submit personal finance questions through our website and receive answers directly from your office.

Here’s how it works: OKMM selects a question or two from our submissions and prepares the answer(s). On the last Friday of each month, we’ll send the questions and answers to your office for you to distribute through email, include in a newsletter or post on your social media pages and/or website. We’ll even help you develop website text or a button promoting the service to your clients.

Past topics have included tax preparation, living within your means, steps to take if your wallet is stolen, preparing financially for children, saving for college and retirement, credit repair, disaster-proofing your finances, saving vs. paying off debt and many more!

If you’re interested in receiving Financial Friday, call 800.970.OKMM or email for additional information and details. To see more topics we’ve covered, visit our Ask OKMM Q&A archive at

Two New Online Counseling Sessions Available!

Mapping Your Future LogoMapping Your Future (MYF) recently introduced two new counseling sessions, Grace Period and Repayment and Loan Management. Either session or a combination of these sessions will help schools educate students and borrowers about important loan repayment information.

The Grace Period and Repayment counseling session (external link) can assist schools in contacting and helping their students prepare for loan repayment. The new session provides information on managing student loans after college and serves as a refresher course for students who may not remember all their repayment options as outlined in the exit counseling session completed prior to leaving school.

The Loan Management counseling (external link) targets students who are completing their final year of school and provides them essential personal finance, education, and career planning tips to help them avoid student loan default.

OCAP sponsorship enables Oklahoma schools to use any or all of MYF counseling and tools free of charge for the 2011-12 fiscal year. We encourage you to visit the MYF site (external link) to see all the counseling sessions and other tools available that may be a good fit for your internal processes. The counseling sessions have several free customization options as well.

Oklahoma postsecondary schools that have an existing MYF Online Counseling account and would like to add Grace Period and Repayment and/or Loan Management sessions - or any other counseling sessions - to their participation categories should contact the MYF customer care staff at Schools that don't already have an Online Counseling account should complete the school submission form at (external link).

Making Work Work

Charisma can take you far in the business world.

Charisma means “divine gift,” and it’s used to describe people with powerful charm and personal magnetism. But it’s not really a gift—you can develop or increase your charisma by learning how to connect with people. Check out the following things that can increase your charisma.

Physical presence. We can’t all be tall or handsome or beautiful, but you can boost your physical charisma by:

Emotional connection. This trait is a vitally important aspect of charisma. Connect emotionally with people by:

Intellectual connection. Charismatic leaders engage other people’s minds. Take the time to study widely and think deeply by:

« Back to top

Featured Tool

Check Out the New and Improved DPST

By now, you’ve probably heard of OCAP’s Default Prevention School Tool (DPST). But have you heard about the recent enhancements that make it even more useful? Keep reading to learn the latest.

Man holding card that says We Can Help

What is the DPST?

DPST offers schools an easy way to track and manage their cohort default rate performance. With the DPST, you can access reports, pre-formatted letters and a comprehensive database search feature.

DPST is an easy-to-use Microsoft Access database with the most current borrower cohort information. DPST turns OCAP’s Delinquent Borrower by School Report and ED’s servicer (TIVAS) data into an interactive application. It’s been designed to provide special support to schools as they focus on students who are at-risk for becoming delinquent or defaulting on their student loans.

What are DPST's signature features?

How has DPST improved?

Are there any upcoming enhancements to look forward to?

Soon, the DPST will allow schools to more effectively analyze their cohort draft rate to identify borrowers for possible cohort challenges. This feature is currently going through final BETA testing, so be on the lookout for more information soon.

One more great benefit of the’s free! If you’re interested in reducing your cohort default rate, enhancing your direct contact with at-risk borrowers, and minimizing staffing costs and time spent working delinquent accounts, the DPST can help.

OCAP's Default Prevention team is ready and able to help you reach your default prevention goals. To request a DPST demonstration, contact Wayne Sparks, OCAP's Default Prevention Manager, at 405.234.4358, 800.247.0420 (toll free) or

« Back to top

College Planning

Fire Up for Freshman Orientation

OSU Students laughing and walking down the sidewalk

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University

It’s summertime. And that means high school grads all over the country are busy making last-minute college plans. Choosing what personal items to take and how many shoes to bring are important decisions, but even the most thorough preparation may not protect students from culture shock when they transition into college life. That’s why most colleges and universities and many technology centers in Oklahoma provide freshman orientation.

Orientation programs provide a wide variety of services to help new students ease into college life, including opportunities to register for classes, take campus tours, meet instructors, ask questions and visit the dorm where they’ll live for the next nine months. Many such programs are now set up to offer fun activities for the entire family.

While some students may have the preconceived notion that orientation might be a little boring, most who attend say it was time well-spent. Not only do orientation events give new students the chance to find their classes and meet their professors before school begins, they also provide an opportunity to make new friends – and studies show that social integration is a key factor of staying in college and graduating. A few hours of orientation activities can make all the difference, so encourage your college-bound students to take advantage of freshman orientation at their chosen schools.

A 2-4-1 Bargain

Students sitting at a table outdoors and smiling

These days, everyone’s looking for a bargain. We all love those “two for the price of one” deals. Money counts, so we take advantage of every opportunity to economize. Time is a precious commodity, too, and we have one word that will bring you a double payoff on time used wisely: volunteer.

Let’s face it—everyone is cutting back. In many areas there are less people getting paid to do more work. That’s where volunteering comes in. When was the last time you donated your time to a worthy cause? The double payoff is easy to see. When you volunteer, you’re helping others and receiving a great deal of satisfaction from enriching someone else’s quality of life. At the end of the day, nothing feels better than knowing you’ve made a difference.

For your college-bound students, there may even be a 3-4-1 bargain. Now THAT’S a sweet deal! Students who volunteer this summer should keep track of all their activities because community service could pay off even more by increasing their chances for scholarships. College counselors often look at a prospective students’ extracurricular activities when considering admission applications.

So, go bargain hunting this summer - volunteer! - and encourage your students to do the same. If you’re looking for ideas on where to invest your time, be sure to check out (external link).

Surf’s Up in Oklahoma

Now that school’s out for the summer, students are probably enjoying the warm weather and hanging out with their friends. Another activity they might spend a little time on is surfing...surfing the Web, that is!

Lots of websites offer free scholarship searches, and summer is a great time for students to start thinking about funding opportunities for college. Surfing the Web can bring up hundreds of scholarship search choices, but make sure your students stick with the free sites. Students should be wary of companies that claim ‘to do all the work’ or those that ‘guarantee results.’ Students never have to put up money to receive a scholarship, and no student should ever pay anyone to help them find scholarships or financial aid.

Here are some of the free scholarship websites we’ve found that offer some great options for students:

Students without perfect grades or athletic skills shouldn’t worry about finding scholarships. Scholarships are awarded based on a variety of other criteria, including financial need, merit, residency, family history, skills, and hobbies. Application deadlines vary, with some as early as December or January of a student’s senior year. Starting the search in the summer allows students extra time to decide which scholarships they might actually want to apply for.

To find out about special scholarships for Oklahoma students and get tips for winning scholarships and college planning, check out The Resources tab on the UCanGo2 site offers several helpful publications, and students who use Facebook should go to to ‘like’ us – we feature scholarship programs on our page!

If you’d like to order any materials you see on the UCanGo2 website, call the OCAP Outreach Department at 405.234.4239 or 866.443.7420 (toll free) or email us at

More College Access News

« Back to top

Who's Who

Do You Know Lisa Holder?

Lisa_HolderTell us about your position and what you do.    I’m the Director of Teacher Education at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. I work with college of education deans and leaders in related agencies to ensure the quality/success of future teachers. I also direct the operations of pre-collegiate and collegiate grants aimed at attracting diverse candidates into the teaching profession and direct professional development activities for teachers.

What do you like most about your job?    The wonderful people with whom I work in Academic Affairs and within my own staff make my job enjoyable each and every day. I also have the privilege of working with many others in the state concerning my passion - quality teacher education - so that also makes what I do extremely exciting and varied. No two days are ever alike… and I like it that way!

What are some of the unique services your department provides?    Since we distribute grants through a competitive process, we’re able to help promote new methods of advancing the teaching profession. Innovative events, workshops, conferences, etc. are always around the corner.

What makes you successful in your position?    What makes me successful, as I mentioned earlier, are the great people here at the Oklahoma State Regents. I am so fortunate to have such great support!

Thanks, Lisa, for everything you do!

« Back to top

Financial Aid

Program Integrity Rules Update

Each month, we provide information about a specific Final Rules topic. This month, we’ll continue the discussion with an explanation of the Program Integrity (PI) Rules that went into effect on July 1, 2011; specifically, the Gainful Employment Rules.

In a recent U.S. Department of Education (ED) training on Gainful Employment (GE) Reporting in NSLDS (external link), ED stated that more than 85 percent of institutions in the United States have at least one GE program. ED further stated that a Title IV-eligible program either leads to a degree or leads to gainful employment in a recognized occupation (a GE program).

For proprietary institutions and postsecondary vocational institutions, this includes all programs EXCEPT:

For public institutions and not-for-profit (including private) institutions, this includes all programs EXCEPT:

If you have a question about whether or not your program is a GE program, please consult Gainful Employment Electronic Announcement (GEEA) #11 (external link) and GEEA #12 (external link) to ensure you’re in compliance with the GE Final Rules published Oct. 29, 2011 ( and New Programs (external link) and and Reporting/Disclosures (external link)) and June 13, 2011 (Debt Measures/Metrics (external link)).

OCAP Program Integrity Webpage

For your convenience, we’ve compiled useful links on Program Integrity Issues, including GE, from both federal and industry resources on our and Program Integrity Web page. Call OCAP’s Policy, Compliance and Training department at 405.234.4322 if you have questions.

NSLDS User Guide and Analysis Now Available

ED recently announced the availability of the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Gainful Employment User Guide (external link)(PDF). ED developed the guide to instruct institutions on how to submit required gainful employment information as required in final regulations published Oct. 29, 2010. Institutions participating in the student financial assistance programs are to report, by Oct. 1, 2011, and once a year thereafter, certain information to ED about students who are enrolled in Title IV-eligible GE Programs.

The NSLDS Gainful Employment User Guide includes an overview of GE reporting requirements, a description of the both batch and online reporting processes, and the three related record layouts. For more information, a description of the gainful employment reporting requirements is available in DCL GEN-11-10 (external link).

NCHELP also announced the availability of a side-by-side (SBS) of the GE final regulations (external link), some with an effective date of July 1, 2011. The SBS details (external link), current Higher Education Act (external link) and applicable Higher Education Act regulations (external link) can be found on the NCHELP website

ED's Gainful Employment Webinar

ED posted their June 28 (external link) and June 29 webinar on Reporting Gainful Employment Data to NSLDS to the IFAP website.

For more information, check out OCAP’s Program Integrity Web page or contact our Policy Analyst, Matt McCreary, at 405.234.4296 or

What's New on IFAP?

Since our last Online News in May, the Department of Education has released several announcements and Dear Colleague Letters to provide guidance for financial aid staff.

General Announcements

Gainful Employment Electronic Announcements (GEEA)

Campus-Based Announcements

Application Processing

Grant and Loan Announcements

Great Rates

What are your summer interests? Interest rates, that is! The new 2011-2012 student loan interest rates have just gone into effect. To help you provide this information to your students and staff, OCAP has developed a new interest rate poster that provides the Stafford and PLUS rates as well as some information about our new Are You Looking for Money? booklet.To place an order, please contact us at 405.234-4239 or 866.443.7420 (toll free) or

Are your students Facebook fanatics? If so, you can encourage them to ‘like’ UCanGo2 on Facebook. Our page provides links to available scholarships, college planning tips and informative articles for our audience of students, parents and counselors. It’s a great way to find some interest-ing information for college!

House Committee Passes Bill to Overturn Department Rules

Graduation CapRecently, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act (HR 2117). HR 2117 would revoke the Department of Education credit hour and state authorization regulations, which became effective July 1. Read more about the bill on the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee website (external link).

Meteor Network Unveils New Website

Graduation CapYou may have read in the March edition of the Online News that the National Student Clearinghouse acquired the Meteor Network from the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs. As a Meteor data provider, we’re excited to announce that the Meteor Network has a new website (external link) that offers even more information for students, alumni, schools and borrowers. Check it out today at (external link).

Common Manual Update

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

People News

This year, OCAP was honored to celebrate two dedicated employees who have each provided 25 years of service to the agency.

Graduation CapDeb Cowan, Accounting Manager, started with OCAP – then OGSLP - in January of 1986 as the main receptionist. Little did she know she would continue to advance to Loan Accounts Officer, Accounting Specialist, Accounting Supervisor, and ultimately, Accounting Manager. Deb’s leadership, attention to detail and dedication to ‘getting the job right the first time’ have been invaluable to the organization. Her long-time friend and co-worker, Penny Gandy, says, “When you need a team member who is very organized and can step you through the details, Deb is the person to call.” With less than a year left before she’s eligible for retirement, Deb looks forward to spending time with her husband Gary, who owns and operates a fishing guide business at Lake Texhoma.

Graduation CapAlso celebrating 25 years of dedicated service to OCAP is Eric Okeke. While currently serving as the Claims Review Manager, Eric has traveled through other departments holding various positions, such as Xerox Operator, Pre-claims Clerk, Claims Review Specialist and Claims Review Supervisor. Linda Cocklin, who has worked with Eric for the past 22 years, said, “It has been fun learning about his homeland, Nigeria, and the differences in cultures between Nigeria and the U.S., especially in communication.” Linda recalls one very windy Oklahoma day that she made the following comment, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” She noticed that Eric had a puzzled look on his face and realized he’d never seen The Wizard of Oz.

Through the many days of hard work and moments of laughter, Eric has certainly been an asset to the agency. Like Deb, Eric is looking forward to retiring in the next couple of years to spend more time with his family and travel around the country.

Our sincere thanks to both of these outstanding OCAP team members for all they’ve done to support the organization for many, many years!

More Financial Aid News

The Bottom Line: Ensuring Students, Parents Understand the Price of College(external link)(PDF)

« Back to top

Scholarships and Other Aid Opportunities

Graduation CapThe College JumpStart Scholarship is an annual, merit-based competition open to 10th-12th graders, college students and non-traditional students. Candidates must be able to express their commitment to going to school and state their educational goals. The deadline for the competition is Oct. 17, 2011. For more information, check out the College JumpStart Scholarship website (external link).  Find out more about this award and others on our Scholarship Opportunities page.

If you know of scholarship opportunities we can promote in the Oklahoma financial aid community, please contact us at

« Back to top

Financial Literacy

OKMM Introduces New and Improved Brochure

screen shot of new OKMM brochureOklahoma Money Matters (OKMM) now offers a new, updated brochure that you can share with colleagues, teachers and community practitioners who are interested in financial education. This full-color brochure includes information about OKMM’s money management publications, workshops, train-the-trainer sessions, Web text and newsletter articles.

It also features exciting Web tools such as the resource clearinghouse, self-paced learning modules and Money Talks podcasts. If you’d like to receive a supply of brochures to share with campus professionals, K-12 teachers, community organizers or employers, please contact OKMM at

Disaster-Proof Your Finances

Living in “Tornado Alley” sometimes means making a mad dash for safety. If you had to, could you quickly grab all your important documents - Social Security card, birth certificate, insurance cards, marriage license, credit card statements, wills, property titles – before taking shelter or evacuating? If the answer is no, you could benefit from disaster-proofing your important papers. Preparing your papers also means you can focus on personal safety when it counts, instead of worrying about gathering critical documents at the last minute.

Follow these tips to ensure your documents are safe from the storm, making it easier for you to get back on your feet if disaster strikes.

photo of a family smiling on the couch

In addition to these steps, consider completing a home inventory that reflects all your possessions. This information will help you determine whether you have enough insurance coverage. In the event of a disaster, it’ll also allow you to file claims faster and with greater accuracy.

More Financial Literacy News

Cost of Raising a Child Nears $227,000 (external link)

« Back to top

Student Loan Management

Repayment Ready

Graduating from college is one of the most rewarding lifetime achievements, but stress about repaying student loans can put a damper on the celebration. Graduates can alleviate this stress by taking control of their loan repayment process. Here are the need-to-knows:

photo of a piggy bank wearing glasses

Repayment options were created to lessen the financial burden during tough economic times. Borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship have several options to choose from:

There’s a wide variety of options available to help graduates successfully manage their student loan debt. Contact OCAP’s Default Prevention department at 405.234.4352, 800.358.4560 (toll free) or for more information.

Understanding Disability Discharge

photo of a veterinarian holding a dog

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge process. Common thinking says that because the Social Security Administration has deemed someone disabled, the rest of the federal government should know or at least pass the information along...right? Wrong! Unfortunately, the fact that the Social Security Administration has deemed someone totally and permanently disabled has no bearing on the discharge process for a borrower’s student loans.

For a borrower to qualify for TPD discharge, s/he must ask a physician of medicine or osteopathy to complete the application by thoroughly answering the required questions. The most important question is, “Does your condition prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity?” If the answer is “yes,” the physician must explain why. Once the physician completes the application and the form reaches the appropriate parties, it’s reviewed to make sure all requirements are met. If the application is complete and meets the initial requirements, a preliminary discharge is granted, and the borrower’s account is submitted to the United States Department of Education (ED) for final review.

Once the borrower’s application is approved, the loan account is assigned to ED, who reviews the documentation and makes the final determination. If ED determines the application does support the preliminary decision, a discharge is granted and a three-year monitoring period begins. If ED determines the application does not support the preliminary decision, the account must be placed back into repayment and a new application or additional information may be required.

To assist you with the TPD application process, check out our TPD discharge checklist. For more information about the TPD process, visit ED’s Understanding the TPD Process Web page (external link).


« Back to top