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

Stop, Drop, and Save the Date

OCAP logo

Stop everything.

Drop what you're doing.

Save 11-1-11 on your calendar for OCAP's Annual Conference.

If you’ve attended our annual conference before, you’re probably thinking that date must be a mistake … doesn’t OCAP hold a summer conference? The OCAP conference is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2011 and this year’s event will be unlike anything we’ve hosted in the past. Of course we’ll continue to offer important sessions for financial aid professionals, but this year you’ll see new sessions highlighting our expanded outreach, default prevention and financial literacy initiatives. In addition, there’ll be new faces among the attendees, including K-12 counselors and a wide range of community partners that share our commitment to student support services. And don’t be surprised if you have a good time while learning – it’s just an OCAP tradition to make it fun!

Plan now to attend the conference and look for upcoming announcements about the location and tentative agenda topics. Have a great summer and we look forward to seeing you this fall!

New Booklet Helps Struggling Adults Reach Their Financial Goals

Your Money Your Way bookletWhen times are tough, traditional money management tips may not fit the bill. That’s why Oklahoma Money Matters has developed a unique new tool to help adults with fewer resources find new strategies for managing their money.

Your Money Matters: Your Money, Your Way (PDF) is a 16-page color booklet designed to teach adults how to take control of their finances, even if they’ve reached a crisis point. Using a relatable storytelling format, Your Money, Your Way helps adults realize they’re not alone in facing their financial challenges and encourages them to take control with creative solutions.

Community practitioners working with adults who struggle to make ends meet can use this guide to explain financial concepts, spark discussion about financial concerns and make financial stability a realistic goal. To request copies, email

Don’t forget to read about our featured tool this month: Oklahoma Money Matters’ self-paced online learning modules, designed to help you successfully manage your money no matter what stage of life you’re in.

OCAP & Smart Start Promote Early Childhood Education Booklet

Cradle to College bookletThrough our college access initiative, UCanGo2, OCAP partnered with Smart Start Oklahoma to produce an informative guide called From Cradle to College, a publication written for parents of children who range in age from newborn through elementary school. Within its pages, you’ll find valuable information about:

Smart Start Oklahoma has already been circulating this colorful publication through hospitals all over the state. To add to this effort, OCAP will soon launch a campaign to get free copies of From Cradle to College into as many Oklahoma homes with young children as possible. If you’re a community partner who works with young families and you’re passionate about increasing college access and aid awareness in your service area, contact us at 866.443.7420 (toll free) to request a set of booklets.

OCAP Supports Oklahoma Schools by Sponsoring Mapping Your Future

Mapping Your Future logoAs a state sponsor of Mapping Your Future (MYF), OCAP makes it possible for Oklahoma schools to use MYF’s loan counseling and other services as a participating member at no cost to the school.

MYF recently announced its new Membership Program, providing schools, companies, and other organizations a new way to participate in MYF and provide support for the organization and its services for students and families. Schools located in a state with a designated guaranty agency that supports MYF, like OCAP does for Oklahoma, will not be charged a membership fee under this new program for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Schools located in a state without a sponsor will be asked to pay a fee to receive access to programs and benefits, including Online Counseling and other services. This means your school can take advantage of important counseling (external link), default prevention, data collection, and soon-to-be announced new services to help your office save time and money and assist your students.

Among many other services, MYF offers entrance and exit counseling for Direct (including PLUS), Perkins, Nursing, and Health Professions loans. Some entrance and exit counseling sessions conveniently provide information for a combination of loan types. MYF also offers counseling sessions that cover grace period and repayment (external link), financial literacy, private loans and loan management.

For more information about MYF services, visit (external link).

OKMM Staff Serve on Jump$tart Board

Liz Brandon and Melissa Crawford, outreach coordinators for OCAP’s financial literacy initiative, Oklahoma Money Matters, were recently named vice president and secretary, respectively, of the Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition.

In addition to presiding over meetings in the president’s absence, Brandon will oversee the planning and execution of Jump$tart Your Money (JYM) Week, an annual event held in April to promote financial fitness among Oklahomans. Crawford will assist in managing organizational records and run special projects to support the Coalition’s community engagement.

The Oklahoma Jump$tart Coalition began in 2004 and is an affiliate of the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. Comprised of businesses, individuals, financial institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, the Coalition’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to make wise financial choices.

OKMM was a founding Coalition member and highly values its relationship with other Coalition partners. “Changing our citizens' financial thought process and behavior is a job too big for just one agency. It takes all of us working together, serving the public and teaching them to make smarter choices,” said Brandon.

“I’m honored and excited to serve our Coalition members as we continue to grow and impact our communities on a greater scale,” added Crawford.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Coalition and how you can join, feel free to contact Liz at or Melissa at or visit the Coalition’s website, link).

Making Work Work

Want to be a better manager? Encourage employees to speak their minds.

If you ensure the people who work for you are the kind who will tell you the truth and not hold back out of fear, you’ll open a flow of information that will allow you to stay on top of troubles that inevitably develop in a workplace. While a group of people who are always admiring you might be comfortable to be around, they’re not likely to help you define and solve problems, and that’s what keeps things rolling smoothly in the long run.

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Featured Tool

OKMM Adds Two New Self-Paced Learning Modules

Oklahoma Money Matters' online learning modules (external link) are designed to help you successfully manage your money, no matter what stage of life you’re in. To better serve our readers, we’re happy to release the newest additions to our module line-up.

OKMM Online Modules

All of our online modules include learning objectives, tools and a quiz and can be used individually or in a classroom setting to help readers make wise financial decisions. For more information about how OKMM’s modules can enhance your financial literacy work, please contact us at or 800.970.OKMM (toll free).

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College Planning

Are Your Students Ready for College? We Can Help!

OSU Campus

Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University

Are you looking for information about helping to prepare your students academically and financially for college? If the answer is yes, check out (external link) and (external link) - Oklahoma’s best sources of college planning information!

There’s a lot of information and tons of free college access materials just waiting for you to download and print at (external link). On the home page, you’ll find that information and materials are available to a variety of audiences, including students, parents, counselors, community partners and adult learners. Don’t miss out on some of the most popular items, such as the Junior (PDF) and Senior (PDF) checklists and the 5 Tips for Scholarship Success flyer (PDF). All materials can be downloaded and printed from the website, or you can contact our outreach team at 405.234.4239, 866.443.7420 (toll free) or to request free publications.

This valuable resource is designed to serve as a one-stop shop for college planning resources for students, parents and counselors. (external link), offered in English and Spanish, includes information about public and private colleges and universities throughout the state. The site offers access to college applications, career exploration and planning tools, and financial aid resources. Tips and timelines for the admission process help students plan to ensure important deadlines are not missed. Students are able to review the college information, bookmark their favorite colleges, and build personal portfolios of their grades and applications. They can also give their counselors access to their portfolios.

In Oklahoma, there are several options to choose from when deciding where to continue education after high school, including:

Students can visit OCAP’s College Map tool to locate and learn more about the college of their choice. They can also explore and compare colleges at link) The OCAP website offers a great deal of information about federal financial aid, too.

Other Helpful Sites

Looking for more great resources for planning, preparing, and paying for college?

Got Questions?

To learn more about free tools and resources, contact us at 405.234.4239, 866.443.7420 (toll free) or

Join the Conversation on Facebook

With over 600 million users on Facebook, you’ve got to admit it’s a very powerful tool to communicate your message to the world. Have you signed up? We have! OCAP recently joined Facebook to connect students, parents and industry partners with UCanGo2, our comprehensive college access program.

We encourage anyone interested in college planning to visit our Facebook page(external link) and ‘like’ us to receive regular updates with useful information about:

UCanGo2 Facebook page on laptop

We encourage you to tell your students about the UCanGo2 page so they’ll continue to receive great college planning information – even when they’re out of school. If you need help getting the word out, download and print our Facebook flyer (PDF) to hang in visible areas like lobbies or hallways.

You can also ask students to check out (external link) to view all kinds of resources to help them plan, prepare and pay for college.

Students’ Dream Schools May Not Always be a Viable Option

Natasha van Doren, the mother of a prospective Southern New Hampshire University student, wrote an email to the university’s president, Paul LeBlanc, explaining that she can’t afford tuition at her daughter’s dream school. President LeBlanc's response (external link) may surprise you.

More College Access News

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Who's Who

Do You Know EOC Tech?

Can you name the oldest chartered town in Oklahoma? Here’s a hint: it celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1993 and hosts Oktoberfest every fall. Still don’t know? It’s Choctaw! Located in central Oklahoma, Choctaw is also home to Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center (EOC Tech).

Unlike its hometown, EOC Tech isn’t 100 years old (yet); it was constructed in 1982 and currently provides educational services to over 450 daytime students. We’d like to introduce you to a group that provides those top-notch services — the Student Services department:

Pat Jordan   |    Educational Services Director
Nancy Seeley   |    Student Services Coordinator/Advisor
Chris Allen   |    Special Needs Coordinator/Counselor
Jennifer Burch   |    Tech Prep Coordinator/Counselor
Janie Prior   |    Financial Aid Coordinator/Registrar
Jana Gaddis   |    Math Specialist
Susan Gierhart   |    Communication Specialist
Kristy Baker   |    Explore Program Instructor
Lynn Hicks   |    Academic Center Coordinator
Doris King   |    Academic Center/Assessment Assistant
Vickey Davies   |    Transition Specialist, Voc. Rehab.
Kelly Myrick   |    Educational Services Secretary

Photo of the EOC Tech Student Services staff

First row: Janie Prior, Nancy Seeley, Chris Allen. Second row: Jennifer Burch, Kelly Myrick, Doris King, Lynn Hicks. Not pictured: Pat Jordan, Jana Gaddis, Susan Gierhart, Kristy Baker, Vickey Davies.

This team coordinates several initiatives each year to foster relationships with area middle and high school students in each grade level. EOC Tech prepares these students for higher education and their future careers through a variety of events and programs including:

Did you know that all of these programs are totally free for area high school students? What a great way to empower these young adults and teach them important life lessons that will benefit them continuously. We sat down with this talented group of professionals to learn more about how they help Oklahoma students. Here’s what they had to say:

What do you do to go the extra mile for your students?

Chris Allen: At EOC Tech, we’re able to work closely with our students because we don’t have the large case load that other high school counselors have. We’re a small group and the students are usually with us for two years, which allows us to get to know them well. Our instructors also utilize the Student Services department to assist their students and make the most of learning opportunities.

What do you like most about your job?

Janie Prior: I like helping students. Every student who walks into Student Services has a unique set of circumstances in their life, which affects their needs. I also enjoy my coworkers. Our offices are also located next to each other, which allows us to all work together to help every student, whether they need financial aid, college credit advice, answers to career aptitude questions or have special needs.

What are some of the unique services you provide?

Jennifer Burch: We offer high-quality academic and career advisement. If a student knows where they want to end up, we can give them a pretty good road map to get there and encourage them to reach their goals. One of my colleagues playfully calls it “nurturing and nagging.”

Janie Prior: Technology centers are unique because we serve high school students and adult students. We offer many courses in our career majors that help high school students meet the Oklahoma’s Promise requirements. As an adult, students may use their Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship money for career majors that have been approved as part of the Cooperative Alliance agreements with surrounding two-year schools like Rose State College, OSU-OKC, and OSU-IT.

EOC Tech’s primary source of financial assistance is the Federal Pell Grant and many of our students do not have access to home computers. We encourage them to come to our Academic Center and use the lab computers to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online to secure federal grants and financial aid. It’s a good experience for many of them to work through completing the form themselves. After all, adults spend much of their life trying to understand and complete forms!

How important is financial assistance to your student population?

Janie Prior: Without Pell Grants and the Next Step scholarship, it would be very difficult for most of our adults to attend EOC Tech. Our Next Step scholarship is offered to our secondary students in the year following their graduation from high school. In addition, EOC Tech adult students may apply for a need-based scholarship from the Oklahoma Career Tech Foundation in Stillwater. I assist students with their applications and I’m responsible for selecting ten qualified applicants and ranking them in order of need. It’s difficult to choose because everyone is needy. This additional scholarship is very helpful to our students because they may receive anywhere from $200 to $800. I’m also the VA Certifying Official. Veterans are usually some of our most dedicated students and it’s a pleasure to help them receive their benefits.

What impact does EOC Tech have on the high school students in your surrounding area?

Jennifer Burch: EOC Tech provides a pathway to make postsecondary education possible for students who, until they came here, had not considered that option. Several students have said, “I wanted to go straight to work, but you’ve shown us that we can, and most likely will, continue going to school as adults.” Learning doesn’t ever stop.

Janie Prior: The staff and instructors here give students the opportunity to learn a viable skill in order to get a respectable job or continue their education at a two-year or four-year school. Too many of our students have no support system whatsoever; our staff strives to address those needs and give them a feeling of self-worth and the confidence they need to do whatever they choose to do with their lives.

What makes you successful in your job?

Chris Allen: The people I work with are such a great team. We all contribute to the success of Student Services and each one of us helps all of us!

Jennifer Burch: The support of the staff and administration of our school makes us successful. We’re given the tools and the time to do what we need to do for students. We’re never denied the opportunity to learn about new programs and ideas if it will help us do our jobs better.

Janie Prior: I get satisfaction from knowing that I’m having an impact on students’ lives. While at OU as a college student, I heard Gene Warr speak at the Baptist Student Union (the Warr Acres district is named after him). He and his wife, Irma, were very active in using their wealth to assist people in many different areas. Mr. Warr said that no contribution to others is ever too small and said, “You have a fraction of the action” in whatever good may come from it.

Thanks EOC Tech Student Services for everything you do to serve our community!

Now that you know a little bit more about EOC Tech and the great Student Services staff, you should meet another very important person on their campus. Her name is Gina Brazer and she’s the Food Services Manager. While Gina provides a wonderful daily menu for EOC Tech’s staff and students, she is most famous for her delectable, scrumptious and sinfully delicious donut holes. Over the past few years, a few of us here at OCAP have had the pleasure of partaking in this yummy treat. To quote Homer Simpson, “Mmmm … donuts.”

Gina making donuts   Close up shot of donuts covered in glaze

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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 will go into effect on July 1, 2011; specifically, the high school diploma requirements. (Check out the March Online News to read about the impact of the application of Return to Title IV (R2T4) requirements for program modules.)

Effective July 1, 2011, institutions of higher education must develop and follow procedures for evaluating high school diplomas and their validity. If the institution or ED has reason to believe the diploma is not valid, or was not obtained from a school of secondary education, the student must produce additional information.

A new question in the 2011-12 FAFSA asks the applicant to provide the name of the high school where his/her diploma was received. Users of the online FAFSA will be provided a drop-down list of schools from ED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Online FAFSA users will not be permitted to skip this question, however, for the 2011-12 school year, only first-time undergraduate students will be asked this question.

ED notes that the drop-down list of schools provided by NCES does not indicate the school is valid, nor does an exclusion of a school on this list indicate the school is invalid. This means that an institution may not use this list to satisfy the validity of a high school diploma.

For more information about the PI rules for high school diploma requirements, check out OCAP’s Program Integrity webpage 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.

Dear Colleague Letters:

Electronic Announcements:

Gainful Employment FAQs

The U.S. Department of Education recently added a Gainful Employment (GE) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to the IFAP website. The FAQ currently addresses “general,” “disclosure,” and “reporting” gainful employment questions, with a “new programs” section coming soon.

If you have questions about the new gainful employment regulations that have not yet been addressed on the site, you may submit your questions to the GE Questions mailbox at The FAQs will be updated periodically, with new questions and answers appearing in red font.

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

More Financial Aid News

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Scholarships and Other Aid Opportunities

Graduation CapXerox is committed to the academic success of all minority students. That’s why they're offering a Technical Minority Scholarship that awards between $1,000 and $10,000 to qualified minorities enrolled in a technical degree program at the bachelor level or above. 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

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Financial Literacy

Small Town Attractions Lead to Big Time Summer Savings

photo of four children participating in a potato sack race

When gas prices are high and budgets are tight, your entertainment fund may feel the pinch. Check out some of these Oklahoma offerings for budget-friendly fun.

To see more close-to-home options, visit (external link) and explore all our great state has to offer.

Sending a Money-Smart Kid to College

Parents have enough to worry about when sending their son or daughter off to college this fall. Will she fit in? Is the campus safe? Will he eat healthy foods? Help them worry about one less thing by encouraging them to take time in the midst of shopping for dorm gear and researching campus groups to help their child become money smart. Here are some suggestions you may want to share with the families you serve.

photo of a mother and her daughter hugging

  1. Have an honest conversation about money. Tell him about your first experiences with money — positive or negative. Money can be a taboo topic in some families, but children can learn from a parent’s successes and missteps.

  2. Outline the educational expenses you’re willing to pay for and what costs you expect your her to cover so you’re both on the same page. Talk about who’s responsible for tuition, living expenses, school supplies, transportation, insurance and fun money. Then decide how your contribution will be exchanged. Do you want to pay expenses directly? Will the money be divided monthly in the form of an allowance, or will you provide a lump sum each semester?

  3. Once you’ve decided who’s paying which expenses, use a budgeting tool (external link) to help him develop a workable spending plan based on his income.

  4. If you don’t currently have one, you may consider opening a joint checking account. This makes exchanging money easier and helps you monitor her spending. Look for a financial institution with locations in your home town and near her school.

  5. Talk to him about the importance of good credit and explain that credit mishaps early in life can follow him for years! You may feel more comfortable knowing he has a credit card in case of an emergency. If so, help him shop around for the card with the lowest fixed interest rate and service fees.

Of course, following these five tips alone won’t guarantee financial success for students. Encourage parents to use these suggestions as a starting point and continue to talk honestly about money with their kid(s). College is a time for students to learn to be independent, and giving them continued guidance will help them avoid costly money mistakes that could affect them for years to come.

More Financial Literacy News

What, Me Worry? Young Adults Get Self-Esteem Boost from Debt (external link)

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Student Loan Management

Income-Based Repayment 101

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is designed to make federal student loan repayment easier on the borrower by basing the repayment amount on the borrower’s income-to-debt ratio. This repayment plan offers the following benefits to borrowers:

Here are answers to common questions about IBR.

What types of loans are eligible?

What types of loans are not eligible?

If I think I'm eligible for IBR, whom should I contact?

What if I don’t know who holds my loans?

Visit the National Student Loan Data System website (external link) to view all your federally-guaranteed student loans, both FFEL and DL, Stafford and PLUS, current and defaulted and even consolidated. NSLDS will not show any private loans.

For more FAQs and information about IBR, visit OCAP’s IBR webpage.

USDA Offers Student Loan Repayment Program

photo of a veterinarian holding a dog

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in its third year of providing student loan repayment for veterinarians who work where there is a shortage of veterinarian services or, in some cases, no services at all.

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve at least three years in a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) designated veterinarian shortage situation.

NIFA-designated veterinarian shortage situations in Oklahoma include the following counties:

For more information about this program, visit the VMLRP website (external link) or contact the VMLRP at (external link). The application period ends July 2, 2011.

More Student Loan Management News


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