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

OCAP Launches Expanded Student Loan Management Initiative, Ready Set Repay

Graduation Cap OCAP is pleased to announce the launch of our expanded student loan default prevention initiative, Ready Set Repay.

Ready Set Repay is designed to further empower student loan borrowers to make smart borrowing decisions and successfully navigate student loan repayment while helping you, our partners, maximize the effectiveness of debt education and default prevention efforts. While OCAP's default prevention team has long offered excellent services for borrowers and the financial aid community, Ready Set Repay includes enhanced features and tools for students and schools.

The centerpiece of this initiative is OCAP's new student loan management website, Watch this brief video to learn about the features of the new site.

RSR Video

The website's structure allows borrowers to easily find tools and information based on where they are in the student loan process. Whether they're in school, in their grace period, repaying their loans, behind on payments or in loan default, these easy-to-navigate channels drive users to the content they need. We've also created a section just for our campus partners, offering our wide selection of publications, instructional materials and operational resources to meet your workflow needs and help strengthen your services for student borrowers.

Here's what people are saying about Ready Set Repay:

“This is fantastic. I just sent this information to over 400 students and parents. Thank you so much for such a timely resource.”—Pam Leptich, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

“I am REALLY impressed with this website! You guys have made the subject of student borrowing much more clear and accessible. I will be using this information and this site with our high school seniors, before they start making these important decisions for their future education funding. Thank you!”—David Risinger, OSU-Oklahoma City

Of course, OCAP's default prevention team is still here to educate borrowers about managing student loan debt and the many repayment options available to them. Our specialists can be reached Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 800.358.5460 (toll free) or

Remember that OCAP's training team is here for you, too. We can provide customized professional development workshops and regulatory and operational financial aid training based on your institution's needs. Visit our Training & Professional Resources page to learn more about these services.

Ready Set Repay products and services are available at no charge to Oklahoma campuses. Our publications, tools, consultations and other resources are designed to support your efforts to ensure borrowers understand their loan obligations and how to successfully manage the repayment process. A complete list of our helpful products and services for higher education institutions is available on Ready Set Repay's Products & Services webpage; a small sampling is provided below.

We hope you're as excited about Ready Set Repay as we are. This initiative was built with you in mind; we want to continue helping you keep Oklahoma's borrowers on track for student loan success!

New FAFSA Tools for Educators and Partners

OCAP is excited to share new FAFSA education tools for counselors and financial aid partners! We've developed an entirely new digital media campaign to promote FAFSA completion throughout the state. The centerpiece of the campaign, a FAFSA video tutorial, provides students and their parents essential tips for completing the FAFSA in five steps. Feel free to link to the video from your website and share it on your social media platforms. We've also created several tools to help you promote the tutorial, including a commercial spot and Web ads. English and Spanish versions are available.

Remember, OCAP also offers a free FAFSA toolkit for high school counselors, mentors and financial aid personnel, which includes the FAFSA Fundamentals PowerPoint with speaker notes, the Finish the FAFSA in Five Steps brochure, a parent flyer, posters and much more.

These and other free FAFSA tools can be found on the UCanGo2 FAFSA webpages for counselors and for families, where you can place an order for a toolkit, order materials (printed quantities are limited) or download handouts to share with students and parents.

For more information, please contact an OCAP Outreach Specialist at , 405.234.4239 or 866.443.7420 (toll free).

We're Having an Open House!

OCAP is pleased to announce that our move to Presbyterian Health Foundation's Research Park is complete. We're excited about sharing a campus with our agency colleagues at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Join us for an open house event Thursday, March 14 from 2-4 p.m. We'll give you a tour of our new facilities and an exclusive preview of our newest products and services. Light refreshments will be served.

If you haven't already, please RSVP by Monday, March 11. We look forward to seeing you there!

Remember, our new physical address is 840 Research Parkway, Suite 450; Oklahoma City, OK 73104 and our phone numbers, extensions and mailing address remain the same.

Spring Clean Your Office

With OCAP's recent move, we've all had the opportunity to de-clutter our office spaces and start fresh. Since spring is just around the corner, you may be getting the organization bug, too. A clean office leads to higher efficiency and better productivity. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a clear workspace.

Observe and Record
If you're not happy with your current filing system, the first step is to re-evaluate how you use your papers. Spend a week paying attention to which records you use most often and which circumstances require you to access your files. This information will serve as a starting point for you to develop a personalized filing system.

Think Vertical, not Horizontal
Even organized piles can be overwhelming if there are enough of them. Spend some time going through piles and moving non-essential papers into file drawers. (If your file drawers are stuffed, it's time to clean those out, too.) Add some standing file racks that sit on your desk; these tools keep important, relevant information at your fingertips and out of piles.

Designate by Duty
Do you have incoming and outgoing paperwork? Determine the way paper flows; not just in and out of your filing system, but also into and out of your workspace. Designate a spot for papers that you may not need to deal with immediately, but may need to access quickly.

Go Digital
While you're evaluating your files, ask yourself if you can save desk space by storing materials electronically. With the right software, you can share documents, work on a document with colleagues as a team, or maintain records in a spreadsheet. There are many solutions for moving your hardcopies from piles to bytes.

Keep Personal Items in Check
You may be shocked to discover how much non-work clutter has accumulated in your workspace if you really look for it. There's nothing wrong with personalizing your area, but if space is limited, resolve to keep your favorites and take the rest home to make room for your work.

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Featured Tool

Borrow Smart from the Start

Ready Set Repay and Oklahoma Money Matters have joined forces to create a new publication for student loan Borrow Smartborrowers. Borrow Smart from the Start is a step-by-step guide through the student loan process that emphasizes the importance of completing the FAFSA, making smart borrowing choices, monitoring debt load, keeping track of student loans with NSLDS, considering various repayment options and more!

Here's what people had to say when asked about their plans for our new publication:

“We would like to incorporate these brochures with our current default prevention efforts. We feel that the more information we can give students, the better decisions they can make when borrowing money.” —Jaclyn Riley, Carl Albert State College

“We are placing a link to this brochure on our website under loan information and plan to include it in an orientation video we are working on that will be posted to our website. We are also going to give the brochure out to all students requesting loans. There's great information in the brochure that includes the full gamut of student borrowing.” —Myrna Cross, Western Oklahoma State College

Download a PDF version of Borrow Smart from the Start to share with students electronically or include with campus financial aid award packaging. For printed copies, contact Kerry Mucker at (quantities limited).

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Who's Who

Do you know Becky Garrett?

Meet Becky, president of the Oklahoma Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA) and assistant director for technical services at the University of Central Oklahoma's (UCO) Student Financial Services office. Garrett

Tell us about your background in financial aid.

Along with my technology-related responsibilities, I supervise the Loan Department and the Data Entry/Imaging Department at UCO. I'm also responsible for reconciling the Pell Grant Program, Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant, and the Direct Loan Program. I started my career in financial aid at UCO in February 1989 and since then I've seen many changes in processing and awarding.

Can you tell us a little bit about OASFAA and the benefits of membership?

OASFAA is an association dedicated to professionalism and service to Oklahoma students. We promote the professionalism of student financial aid administrators and counselors in higher learning institutions and service to students, faculties, government agencies and sponsors through coordination of plans and programs pertinent to student financial aid.

Institutional member schools engage in the education and/or training of postsecondary students in Oklahoma. With the payment of annual dues, institutional members are considered in good standing and are allowed one voting representative. Financial aid professionals from the member institution will be entitled to attend association meetings at the member rate, hold office and serve on committees. Paid members are also offered a discounted conference rate and training opportunities at no cost.

What are your goals for OASFAA this year?

I plan to continue to provide training opportunities on current topics related to the processing of student financial aid. We hope to accomplish this through Decentralized Training and the Spring Support Staff Training.

Tell us about the OASFAA Spring Conference.

OASFAA's spring conference is the perfect opportunity for our members to come together to hear the latest information concerning federal and state financial aid programs, meet new members and share ideas on how their office processes aid. This year's spring conference is April 17- 19 at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa. For more information, visit

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College Planning

Ask the Expert: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a College

College isn't one-size-fits-all. Students need to do a little research to decide which institution is the best fit for them academically, socially and financially.

Searching for the right college isn't like researching a term paper. Of course, students should get as many facts as possible, but they shouldn't rely on facts alone. Choosing a college or technical school is a personal and emotional decision, too.

Oklahoma offers a wide variety of higher education options. We encourage students to consider several key characteristics when making this important decision.

School Type

For your students to decide what's right for them, it's important that they understand the different types of schools available and what each school offers. Here are some examples of school types right here in Oklahoma:


When selecting a college, students should think about the location and surrounding community, as they'll likely spend a great deal of time on or nearby campus. Here are some of the benefits of college life in different areas.


Students should never discount the importance of the size of the school they choose. Small schools give students the chance for more interaction with professors, smaller classrooms and more personalized assistance with educational needs. Larger schools provide more social opportunities and more classes to build a flexible schedule.

Admission Requirements

Many schools consider students' ACT and/or SAT scores, high school grades, extracurricular activities, volunteer activities and application essays during the admission process. Students can compare their qualifications to the admission requirements of schools that interest them, bearing in mind that while it's important to be realistic about their chances, they shouldn't be afraid to take a risk. Visit to find a list of current college entrance requirements.


We recommend that students research the cost of attendance at each school they're considering. Check campus websites, as schools are now required to provide online tools to help families estimate education expenses. These estimates help students and their parents determine how much they'll need to rely on family savings, scholarships and grants, work-study programs and if needed, student loans.

Encourage students to visit the Explore Colleges tab at to compare Oklahoma institutions and programs. Once your students have narrowed down their school choices, it's important for them to get a feel for the campus, the students and the surrounding areas. The best way to do that is to arrange campus visits. UCanGo2 offers several tools to help students make the most of campus visits, including checklists of places to visit and questions to ask. Section 4 of UCanGo2's High School Student Workbook also provides helpful information about planning campus visits. Learn more about college planning and find other helpful resources at

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Financial Aid

Coming Soon: Draft Cohort Default Rates

Financial aid professionals, the Department of Education (ED) will soon release draft FY 2011 two-year and FY 2010 three-year cohort default rates. Beginning approximately six days after the release of the draft cohort default rates, schools will have 40 days to submit an Incorrect Data Challenge (IDC) to the guarantor or servicer holding the records via the electronic Cohort Default Rate Appeals (eCDRA) program. Schools will not be able to appeal incorrect data without prior submission of an IDC.

Here are a few things to think about while you're waiting for the draft cohort default rates:

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

What's New on IFAP?

Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs)



Application Processing
Gainful Employment Electronic Announcements (GEEA)

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 Cap Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition designed to encourage safe driving practices. Applicants are required to submit a video, either 25 or 55 seconds in length, that focuses on motivating, persuading and encouraging their peers to drive without distractions and embrace safe driving habits.

Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. Submissions are required by April 1, 2013. The winning video will be turned into an Ad Council Public Service Announcement, and will be distributed nationally to 1,600 TV stations.

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Financial Literacy

Prepare to Avoid Car Repairs

The end of winter brings warmer weather, summer travel, and more time spent outside. While it's easy to mentally prepare yourself for sunshine and t-shirts, preparing your vehicle for summer weather may take a little more consideration. Here are some proactive ways to get your vehicle ready now, which can help you avoid expensive repairs down the road.

Suspension. Winter's hazardous roads can damage your car's suspension system. Consider replacing worn-out suspension springs and shock absorbers to provide a smooth ride, stable turns and better steering control.

Tires. Tires work hard to keep your vehicle moving over different terrains and through changing environments. Rising temperatures may cause your tires to expand as their internal pressure increases. Examine your tires for damage, tread depth and proper inflation. Repair or replace them as needed.

Fuel injection system. Gas prices often rise during the summer months as travel increases. A properly functioning fuel injection system allows the car to generate enough pressure to circulate fuel for smooth acceleration, power output and increased fuel efficiency.

Air conditioning. One day soon those nice cool breezes will be replaced with what feels more like the swift opening of a preheated oven. If you can't survive the summer without air conditioning, now's the time to check your vehicle's refrigerant, ventilation, belts, and hoses to guarantee the production of cool air inside when it's 105 degrees outside.

To learn more about seasonal steps you can take to improve vehicle maintenance, contact an auto mechanic or your car dealer's service department. Happy travels!

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Student Loan Management

Telephone Tips for Helping Student Loan Borrowers

Keeping cohort rates down is a priority for many schools, but most financial aid officers are used to talking to students face-to-face. If helping borrowers over the phone is a new challenge for your staff, OCAP is here to help. Our expanded default prevention initiative, Ready Set Repay, offers a wide selection of tools and resources to help you make the most of your borrower calls. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Know the whole picture. Before contacting a borrower, make sure you know their student loan history. It will save you time and the borrower will appreciate not having to repeat the details. You can do this by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to look up relevant student loan information.

Protect their identity. If the call is answered by a third party, be sure to protect the borrower's privacy by not revealing details about his or her student loan. You may simply want to say that you're making a courtesy call regarding student loan records.

Start with vital information. There may be a simple solution to resolving a defaulted loan, such as a change of address or change of name. Start your call by making sure the borrower is receiving his or her statements. Tell borrowers how their contact information is listed in NSLDS and encourage them to update it as needed with their lender.

Offer a wide range of solutions. If a borrower is having trouble making loan payments, describe any applicable deferment and repayment options. Don't forget to ask borrowers if they qualify for a military service or education related deferment.

For more tips on making successful borrower calls, visit and check out our Default Prevention Telephone Scripts. If you'd like to request staff training on default prevention efforts, customer service techniques or telephone skills, submit an External Training Request form and someone from OCAP will contact you promptly.

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