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

New Year, New Location

The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) is pleased to announce that we've moved our offices to the Presbyterian Health Foundation's Research Park. As you may know, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education offices are also located in Research Park, and as an operating division of the State Regents, OCAP staff are delighted to share a campus with our agency colleagues.

Our new physical address is:

840 Research Parkway, Suite 450
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Our phone numbers and extensions haven't changed, and our mailing address remains:

P.O. Box 3000
Oklahoma City, OK 73101-3000

We're planning an open house event for our campus and community partners on Thursday, March 14. Save the date and stay tuned for more information.

One more thing … you may have noticed that this newsletter has a new name — you're reading the inaugural edition of the OCAP Outlook! We hope you continue to find the content of our monthly bulletin relevant to your work and helpful in your service to students and families.

We look forward to seeing you at the open house next month, and to working beside you in 2013 and beyond. See you soon!

OKMM's Resources for Resolutions

At the start of a new year, many of us resolve to conquer debt and learn to better manage money. If you, or someone you serve, have a finance-related goal this year, let Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM) help with a variety of free services.

Customized Workshops

OKMM offers free workshops covering basic money management topics like creating a realistic budget, practical ways to save, responsibly using credit, preventing identity theft and managing student loans. We'll work with you to design a program that will best meet your needs. Whether it's a daylong workshop, a brown bag lunch-n-learn or a series of classes, we'll create a program that will truly make a difference to those you serve.

Train-the-Trainer Workshops

If you'd prefer to teach your own money management workshops but aren't sure where to start, consider taking part in one of OKMM's train-the-trainer workshops. Learn to create a solid financial literacy message, explore materials and resources that will enhance your outreach efforts, and practice activities that make learning about money fun and relatable. OKMM hosts several train-the-trainer workshops throughout the year, or if you have multiple staff members, student leaders or volunteers that would like to be trained, the workshop can come to you!

Online Resources

If you prefer online learning, check out OKMM's collection of Web-based tools and resources at class). The self-paced learning modules, podcasts and resource clearinghouse are user-friendly and available 24/7.

To learn more about how OKMM's services can benefit you and your students, employees or community group, call OKMM at 800.970.OKMM (toll free) or email us at

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Featured Tool

FAFSA Counselor Toolkits

FAFSA ToolkitHere's a question for you: What does FAFSA stand for? This time of year, the general consensus from high school seniors and college students might be: "Filling out Another Form Sure is Annoying." Yet, if you work with students, you know the importance of completing and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.

This FAFSA season, you have more help than ever before! OCAP has developed a free FAFSA toolkit for high school counselors, mentors and financial aid personnel. In this kit, you'll find an abundance of resources designed to help you spread the word to students and their parents. Posters and samples of our FAFSA materials are enclosed, including our new Finish the FAFSA in 5 Steps brochure. We've also included a CD that contains all of our FAFSA publications, the Completing the FAFSA guide published by the U.S. Department of Education, helpful links and FAFSA Facts. While you're checking out the CD, be sure to take a look at our new parent flyer, too!

As always, it's easy to use our publications. Just print them from the kit CD or visit class)to place an order (pre-printed quantities are limited). While you're on our website, check out the new FAFSA tutorial video — available in both English and Spanish — on our FAFSA page(external class)! Feel free to link to the video from your site, share it on your social media platforms and encourage students and parents to view it for FAFSA completion tips. The video tutorial is the centerpiece of OCAP's digital media campaign to promote FAFSA completion across the state.

Thanks for using our free FAFSA materials, and thanks for all you do!

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Who's Who

Do you know Dawn Hix?

Meet Dawn, Individual Development Accounts (IDA) Coordinator for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Dawn Hix

Tell us about the Choctaw Asset Building program.

The Choctaw Asset Building (CAB) program is offered to Choctaw tribal members using IDAs. IDAs are matched saving accounts designed to encourage regular savings habits and investments in assets that increase in value over time. Account holders save a minimum of $25 each month for 6 to 36 months. At the end of this period, CAB matches these contributions, providing $3 of matching funds for every $1 of personal savings for housing accounts. Entrepreneurial and educational accounts receive $2 of matching funds for every $1 of personal savings.

The total amount of personal savings and matching funds can be used to pay expenses associated with buying a first home, attending college or vocational school, or starting or expanding a small business.

What are some services CAB provides?

Participating IDA savers must attend at least 12 hours of money management training, and additional training related to their chosen asset, such as homebuyer education classes or small business classes. The knowledge and skills participants gain help them save wisely and protect their investments.

Who can participate in CAB's IDA program?

We serve all of Oklahoma and several counties in Arkansas and Texas. IDA participants must be registered Choctaw tribal members and meet certain income guidelines. Tribal members who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or who receive Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are automatically eligible.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Being part of the group that helps Choctaw tribal members achieve their self-sufficiency goals is an amazing thing. Whether the goal is education and training, home ownership or entrepreneurship; there's a group of people at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma waiting to assist.

How can people learn more?

To review frequently asked questions, read success stories or explore income and other qualification requirements for the CAB program, visit class) or call 866.933.2260.

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College Planning

Counselors: High School Seniors and Their Parents need YOU!

Going the extra mile to make sure your high school seniors start preparing now for college in the fall is critical. Let UCanGo2 help you reach that goal - and involve their parents at the same time - by hosting a College Countdown event this spring.

The first step in college preparation is for seniors and their parents to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Host an event where parents are given updated information about the FAFSA process, which may be much easier now than when they completed it as students. Direct parents and students to visit class), where they'll find simple steps to follow, a list of documents to gather and other helpful FAFSA resources.

Higher education campuses and high schools interested in hosting a College Countdown event may apply for a stipend of up to $1,500 to reimburse the costs of advertising, printing, snacks and other event-related expenses. We invite you to order any of the free publications at class) to use as handouts during your event.

OCAP's Outreach Services team has the communication and planning tools you need to host a successful College Countdown event for students and parents, and we look forward to working with you to plan your next workshop or seminar. Contact Penny Gandy at 405.234.4364 or to discuss how we can help.

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Financial Aid

2013-14 Verification Worksheets Now Available

Financial aid officers, Mapping Your Future (MYF) now offers 2013-14 verification worksheets to assist member schools and schools in sponsored states with collecting student information needed for the verification process. These worksheets are available to Oklahoma institutions through OCAP sponsorship.

OCAP Training Specialist Scott DeBoard recently worked with MYF staff to update the worksheets with the 2013-14 verification requirements. Seven versions of the worksheets are available; document names reflect the Verification Tracking Flag on the student's Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), such as V1.

These worksheets may be downloaded and printed from the Access Area on MYF's Financial Aid Professionals page(external class). After you log-in, click the "2013-14 Verification Worksheet" link under Resources. Users will be asked to verify their contact information before being directed to the worksheet links. This information will allow MYF to contact member schools and sponsored schools when any regulatory changes or enhancements are made to the worksheets.

MYF Offers New Resource to Educate Borrowers About Student Loan Servicers

Mapping Your Future (MYF) recently introduced a Servicer Information Sheet that answers some of the most frequently asked questions about student loan servicers. The sheet can be found on the MYF website at the Learn more about student loan servicers(external class) page. Member schools and schools located in sponsored states can download or link to the Servicer Information Sheet to help educate their borrowers; the sheet includes a complete list of current servicers and answers the following questions:

Borrowers need to work with servicers to avoid monthly payment disruptions, delinquency and default.

Member schools and schools located in sponsored states, like Oklahoma (sponsored by OCAP), can log-in to their Access Area and download the new Servicer Information Sheet PDF by clicking on "Member Resources" at left or by clicking on "Servicer Information Sheet" in the Member Resources section of the Access Area page.

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 CapThe 2013 John W. and Mary D. Nichols Oklahoma Heritage Scholarship is a $10,000, four-year scholarship awarded on the basis of the student's demonstrated knowledge and appreciation of Oklahoma history and geography, as well as academic achievement, citizenship and leadership. Other requirements apply and the student must commit to attend an Oklahoma college or university. The application deadline is March 1. Visit class) for more information.

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Financial Literacy

Ask the Expert: Education Tax

The 2013 tax filing season is now is session and many taxpayers are looking for ways to reduce their tax liability. Eligible taxpayers who were students during 2012 may be able to claim educational tax credits or reductions. Such benefits may also be available for parents who paid for a child's postsecondary education classes and claim the child as a dependent on their tax return. Eligible school-related expenses include tuition, books and supplies. Students and their parents should be aware of two specific federal credits: the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

The American Opportunity Credit allows eligible students or their parent(s) or guardian to receive a tax credit of up to $2,500. It's only available for the first four years of postsecondary education, primarily for those pursuing a bachelor's degree or other recognized educational program. The credit is only available for students who were enrolled at least half-time during one academic period with an adjusted gross income of less than $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing jointly). Parents may be eligible for the credit if they claim the student as a dependent and paid for the student's school expenses.

The Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000 per eligible student is available to anyone who's pursuing postsecondary education, such as graduate school or courses to improve job skills. If the student is no longer eligible for the American Opportunity Credit, this credit is generally considered. The credit is limited to only the tax paid on the return and is for those with a modified adjusted gross income of less than $60,000 ($120,000 for married couples filing jointly).

For more information about educational tax credit eligibility, visit the Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education page(external class) on the IRS website or speak with your local tax professional.

America Saves Week

Feb. 25 — March 2 marks America Saves Week(external class), a national campaign dedicated to encourage Americans to create, practice and assess their saving habits. Many adults don't save for future expenses, such as emergencies or retirement, and America Saves Week is a time to encourage savings plans and debt reduction. It's also a time to encourage companies and organizations around the nation to use innovative campaigns and outreach tactics to promote savings plans to their employees, clients and communities.

Visit OKMM on Facebook(external class) and Twitter(external class) during America Saves Week to find creative and strategic savings tips, and stop by OKMM's website(external class) to explore a wide variety of money management resources, including colorful publications, in-depth learning modules and our online clearinghouse. Contact OKMM at 800.970.OKMM (toll-free) or to learn how we can support your community education efforts during America Saves Week.

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Student Loan Management

Default Prevention Plans

Draft Cohort Default Rates will be released this month, and now is a great time to consider developing a Default Prevention Plan (DPP).

A DPP is an important tool for institutions working to lower their Cohort Default Rate (CDR). While many institutions would benefit from having a written plan, institutions with a CDR above 30 percent are required to develop and follow a DPP. These schools must also submit a copy of their plan to the Department of Education and review their plan at least once per year.

A DPP will be developed in conjunction with a Default Prevention Task Force. This task force is made up of individuals from across campus. The task force might include representatives from Admissions, the Registrar's Office, Student Life, Academic Affairs, the Bursar's Office, Institutional Research and one or more student organizations. A typical DPP addresses issues such as loan counseling, financial literacy, enrollment reporting and both early and late stage delinquency assistance strategies. A DPP should also include an analysis of the institution's borrowers. In order for an institution to address the needs of its borrowers, it's vital that institutions know which students are at high risk of defaulting. If your campus already has a plan in place, consider using this time to review portions of the plan centered on efforts undertaken during the fall 2012 semester.

OCAP offers free on-site consulting services to Oklahoma schools that are interested in developing a comprehensive DPP. We can perform a cohort analysis to help you determine which of your students are defaulting on their loans. Additionally, we have printed and electronic resources available to assist you in providing your students with accurate information to help them make smart borrowing decisions to fund their education.

If you're interested in discussing any of these products or services, contact Scott DeBoard at 405.234.4233 or

2013 Poverty Guidelines Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the 2013 Annual Poverty Guidelines in the Jan. 24, 2013 Federal Register(external class).

Please note that 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.

Income-Driven Repayment Comparison Chart Now Available

The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) recently released a comparison chart of the income-driven repayment options available to federal student loan borrowers. The chart also includes FAQs on the repayment plans. We hope you find the information helpful for staff and student loan borrowers.


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