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

Access360 is Almost Here!


Access360: Allies in Higher Education, OCAP and GEAR UP's Annual Conference set for Sept. 23-24 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman, is rapidly approaching. We're busy lining up a slate of informative and inspirational speakers to help you make the most of your time at the conference.

Monday, Sept. 23, will focus on college access and financial literacy. Sessions topics include an overview of student aid programs and the application process (NASFAA Core sessions), Oklahoma’s Promise, FAFSA basics, keeping students’ attention when teaching about money, understanding a holistic admissions process and much more. Attendees will hear from Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. As our keynote speaker, Chancellor Johnson will provide an update on key initiatives of the state higher education system during our luncheon.

We've also lined up exciting entertainment for Monday evening: an exclusive showing of the documentary First Generation at 4:30 p.m. Narrated by Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, First Generation tells the story of four high school students – an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers – who set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education. This showing is open to the public and conference registration is not required to attend.

Tuesday, Sept. 24, will focus on financial aid and financial literacy. Attendees will enjoy sessions covering cohort rates, challenges and appeals, customizing financial literacy messages, maximizing social media efforts, repayment options and more. Joining us for lunch will be keynote speaker Justin Draeger, President of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Draeger will give us a national overview of the financial aid industry and provide key insights on the messages we should communicate to students about how to pay for college.

These are just a few reasons you won't want to miss Access360. Registration is still open and the conference is free, so register today. For more updates on speakers, sessions and details, visit, check out the conference agenda and follow us on Twitter @OKAccess360. We look forward to seeing you there!

Families Encouraged to Save in September

As the official College Savings Month, September is the prime time for families to kick-start their college savings plan. Education beyond high school has always been a worthwhile investment, but now it's more important than ever. According to the Lumina Foundation, 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by 2020.

To help maximize saving efforts, we encourage families to explore a variety of savings vehicles. Consider these options to start saving right away.

Remember, it's never too early to teach children the value of saving. Encourage your child to put a portion of any allowance or gift money into a savings account. Not only will this practice help your family build a college fund, it can also help your child develop healthy savings habits that can support a lifetime of financial success.

Featured Tool

Featured Tool: UCanGo2's 2013-14 Counselor Toolkits

Have you noticed the excitement filling the air as students shop for new notebooks, backpacks, planners and other school supplies? Counselors and teachers, here's a reason for you to get just as excited - you can expect to see UCanGo2's 2013-14 Counselor Toolkits (high school and middle school versions) on your doorstep in just a few weeks!

Kit Download

Kit highlights include:

  • Student Workbooks and accompanying Instructor Guides.
  • New and improved publications to facilitate college planning.
  • Resources to educate families about paying for college.
  • Educational games and activities.
  • A CD loaded with tools for counselors, students and their parents.

If you've received a kit in the past and your contact information hasn't changed, you'll automatically receive a new kit. However, if you've never received a kit or need to change your mailing address, visit the counselor page at and click the applicable "Order a Free Counselor Kit" button. Be sure to share this information with your colleagues so they can order a kit, too.

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Who's Who

Do You Know Consuelo Kickbusch?


Do you know Lt. Col. Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, founder of Educational Achievement Services, Inc. and the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the U.S. Army Combat Support Field?

What challenges have you faced in pursuing a college education?

I work extensively with students across the country and all too often, especially with first generation students, "You simply don't know what you don't know." A college could be nearby and may offer a wealth of support. But many young people, often blinded by innocent ignorance, believe college is unattainable. I believe another major factor is not having a vision early in your life and preparing yourself to realize that vision.

In my personal experience, cultural implications can be another obstacle. My parents were quite concerned about what I would become after leaving "la familia" to go to this strange place that they could not relate to. I had to take a courageous stand against my own mother's wish, with the support of my father, to seek higher education. I faced an emotional decision about whether or not to go work to help my parents, who desperately needed the financial support, or to spend several years pursuing an education. This is a battle that still exists for many students today. How do you reconcile and prioritize the very strong reality of an economic need and the wish to better yourself?

I also faced the obstacle of feeling so isolated and finding myself in a different culture, a different environment and believing that's where I belonged.

How do your experiences and background help you inspire future leaders?

I consider myself a servant leader—I serve others first. My ideology, along with my transparency and authenticity, inspires many who listen to my story of struggle, discrimination and illiteracy to believe that in whatever obstacles they are experiencing, hope still exists.

I feel that leaders sometimes begin their stories from the point of their success. I start from the point of my failures, hurt and pain to illustrate the transition of what it took to create my current success. I do think, at least through talking to many who've heard me speak, that when they truly thought there was no way out of the dismal situation, my whole story serves as a testament of the American dream in reality. I believe that many students want to hear the whole journey and not just from the point of success.

I talk about getting to know your soul and I speak of the dark times as well as the bright days. When students hear both dimensions, they begin to feel hopeful and recognize that even in the dark phases, "it too shall pass," as long as they have a vision and passion for what they want to do in life.

If you could give teachers, counselors and mentors one piece of advice for encouraging young people to go to college, what would you say?

First, listen to your students' stories, and then take it from there. I think too often we start from the point of informing and we miss the opportunity to create possibilities based on what we've heard.

After you listen to a student, then you can find the best point of departure.

Lt. Col. Kickbusch will be attending our upcoming conference, Access360: Allies in Higher Education conference, Sept. 23-24 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman. Click here for more information about the conference.

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College Planning

From Cradle to College: Preparing Future Graduates From Their First Steps

Cradle to CollegeIt's never too early to start preparing a child for a successful future. Those little bundles of joy grow up fast and their path to academic success is built along the way as they develop the skills and habits required to become successful adults.

Bringing up college-ready children means making sure their social, emotional and educational experiences are positive and productive - and that going to college is an aspiration and expectation supported by the family. Proper development and preparation from early childhood through school days is important for every child. We know that a parent's time, attention and love assure their children are safe and ready to succeed. With all the theories out there about how best to raise children, where can parents go for trustworthy information about generating a college-going culture in the home? That's where UCanGo2 can help.

In partnership with early childhood experts Smart Start Oklahoma, UCanGo2 offers a parent's guide to successful college planning from early childhood through grade school. The guide, From Cradle to College, provides valuable tips and tools for parents of children of all ages, including early childhood development tools, goal-setting techniques, tips for talking about college and information about paying for college.

Raising a child who's prepared to learn and grow is a lifelong effort and a rewarding journey for both parent and child. From Cradle to College empowers parents of young children to build a solid foundation for planning, preparing and paying for college from birth. If you're a counselor who knows parents with young children or a community partner who works with young families, visit or call 866.443.7420 to order copies of From Cradle to College. We are currently updating this publication and the new version will be availble soon.

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Financial Aid

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Issued

On July 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued an NPRM proposing to amend the Student Assistance General Provisions and provisions for the Title IV loan programs.

Briefly, the NPRM proposes to:

The comment period closed August 28.

What's New on IFAP?

Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs)




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

Have you heard about Project Finish Line? The Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board currently provides educational grants to residents in four central Oklahoma counties who are within 15 hours of earning their college certificate, associate or bachelor's degree. Because this is a grant, money awarded through Project Finish Line doesn't have to be repaid. The grant covers tuition, fees and text books.

Who's eligible? Grant applicants must be:

Want to learn more? Visit the Project Finish Line page on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website.

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Financial Literacy

Dinner on a Dime

Eating out can be fun and convenient, but the costs can put a dent in almost any budget. While limiting restaurant meals is a smart financial move for everyone, we recognize that sometimes eating out can be a necessity for busy families. To help soften the budget blow, here are some tips to minimize the cost of dining out.

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Student Loan Management

The Benefits of Paying Student Loan Interest While In School

Every semester, students take out loans to help pay educational expenses throughout the school year. Without these loans, many students wouldn't have the funds to continue their education. Generally, the last thing on their minds is repaying any portion of their loans before they absolutely have to do so. However, interest payments on student loans are generally affordable on a college budget, and those small payments can make a big difference in the amount repaid over the life of a loan.

What would happen to students' repayment schedules over time if they paid the interest on their education loans while they were still in school? Let's take a look at Jim and Jane.

Jim and Jane met at Iwanna Job University in a freshman English class. They hit it off, and before long, Jim and Jane planned to marry after graduation. Jim and Jane started discussing how they'd join lifestyles and combine belongings such as furniture, kitchenware, pets and finances. As they talked about their student debt, Jim and Jane discovered that while they'd both borrowed $25,000 ($3,125 unsubsidized each semester for 8 semesters at 6.8 percent interest), Jim's loan balance of $29,462.50 was higher than Jane's balance of $25,000. Why? Jane paid her interest expenses each month during school.

How did Jane's regular interest payments affect her loan repayment as compared to Jim's?

(Standard Loan Repayment Calculations made using FSA's student loan repayment website.)

Here's the bottom line: Jim and Jane borrowed the same amount in student loans, but by making interest payments while she was in school, Jane reduced both the total amount repaid and her monthly payment over the life of her loan. For more information about smart borrowing and successful loan repayment, check out

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