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 Conference: Call for Sessions


We're thrilled to announce Access360 will be held Sept. 23 and 24 at the Embassy Suites in Norman! This new location provides on-site lodging for those who wish to attend the conference both days and offers a number of quality services and amenities. Visit our new website, for conference details, including information about the hotel and speakers.

While our conference has a new name and a new home, our commitment to provide the highest quality content hasn't changed. We're already working to bring you exciting keynote speakers and experts in financial aid, financial literacy and college access. To ensure we address the specific topics that interest you most and utilize your expertise as a service provider, we need your help!

We're seeking proposals for informative, relevant sessions presented by dynamic speakers. We're looking for presenters who can share knowledge, experience and best practices related to our shared goal of facilitating student success from the cradle to college and beyond. Here are some of the topics we hope to see:

If you'd like to submit a session proposal, please complete and email this form to the Access360 Session Development Chair, Scott DeBoard, at by 5 p.m., July 17. The Access360 Conference Committee will review all proposals and identify sessions that will appeal to the greatest number of our partners or that provide unique expertise. If your proposal is selected, you will be notified by Aug. 1.

For more information, contact Scott DeBoard at 405.234.4233.

Direct Subsidized Loan Interest Rates Return to 6.8 Percent

As of July 1, Direct Subsidized Loan interest rates returned to 6.8 percent. In 2007, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which gradually reduced the subsidized rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over a period of four years and expired June 30, 2012. In 2012, Congress extended the 3.4 percent rate for an additional year, which expired June 30, 2013. Accordingly, the interest rate on Direct Subsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 returned to 6.8 percent.

More information about additional July 1 student loan and subsidy changes can be found in the Financial Aid section. OCAP will continue to keep you informed of any changes to pending interest rate legislation, and visit for the most current updates.

Featured Tool

Featured Tool: OKMM's Interactive Budget Calculator

Budget Calculator

Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM), OCAP's financial education initiative, recently released a new interactive budgeting tool to help consumers easily build a detailed monthly spending plan.

This user-friendly tool automatically identifies 10 of the most common spending categories and includes numerous subcategories. Visitors can easily rename, add and delete categories to create a customized budget that truly fits their lifestyle and budget needs. As the user adds expenses, the calculator automatically subtracts the projected spending amounts from the total income entered, allowing the user to quickly see if adjustments are needed. When finished, the user can export the personalized budget to a Microsoft Excel file, which can be saved, referenced and printed as often as necessary.

Creating and adhering to a realistic budget is the foundation for financial success. Visit for more information and share our Budgeting Calculator with the audiences you serve to help them on their way to financial success.

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Who's Who

Do you know Linette McMurtrey?

Meet Linette, Scholarships Program Coordinator for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE). McMurtrey

Tell us about your new position and your background in financial aid.

I began at OSRHE as the Scholarship Programs Coordinator in April. I'm responsible for administering several scholarship programs that are funded through OSRHE, providing support for the administration of the Oklahoma's Promise Program and serving as the Recording Secretary for the Oklahoma College Savings Plan.

Before OSRHE, I was employed at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) in the Financial Aid Office as the Assistant Director for Processing and Reporting. I was responsible for the reporting and reconciling of over $50 million in federal and state financial aid. Trying to understand, communicate and implement federal regulations was challenging, but definitely rewarding. I enjoyed working under Dr. Sechrist's leadership and working with faculty and staff members that were invested in the success of at-risk, or at-promise, students.

What do you like most about your new position, and what are your goals?

Working in higher education and administering scholarship programs that give students the opportunity to pursue higher education is very fulfilling. I enjoy working with knowledgeable individuals who believe in the importance of higher education.

My short-term goal is to become proficient with my responsibilities and continue to learn so I can contribute as much as possible. I would like to complete a Ph.D. program in the future and remain in higher education.

What scholarship programs do you coordinate and how can schools and families find out more about them?

I'm responsible for administering the Academic Scholars Program, Regional University Baccalaureate Program, Future Teachers Scholarship, Chiropractic Education Assistance Scholarship, George and Donna Nigh Scholarship and a few others.

Schools and families can find out more about these programs by going to or by contacting our office at 405.225.9131.

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College Planning

Stay Updated with UCanGo2 on Facebook

We know you have a lot on your plate. With numerous students to counsel, schedules to plan, tests to conduct, activities to supervise and meetings to attend, you may barely have time to check your email. Finding time to collect up-to-date scholarship, financial aid and college planning information can be a challenge.

Rest assured that UCanGo2, OCAP's comprehensive college access program, can make your job easier. With just a quick click of a button, you can begin to receive pertinent college access updates on your Facebook newsfeed. Simply 'like' UCanGo2 on Facebook ( ) and voilà – the information you need to help students plan, prepare and pay for college will be automatically delivered to you on a regular basis.

You'll receive relevant information about a wide variety of helpful topics, including:

Let UCanGo2 help you stay current, relevant and well-informed. Visit the UCanGo2 page on Facebook and 'like' us today! We also encourage you to download and display our Facebook flyer to inform your students and their parents about this great college planning resource.

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Financial Aid

July 1, 2013 Student Loan Changes

Several recent statutory and regulatory changes impacting student loans took effect July 1, 2013.

Direct Subsidized Loan Interest Rate

Interest rates for subsidized Direct Loans returned to 6.8 percent for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013. Click here for more information.

Direct Loan Origination Fees

Due to Sequestration, origination fees for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 increased as follows:

Schools may now report loans with the increased origination fees to the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System. Second and subsequent disbursements made after July 1 on loans whose first disbursement was made prior to July 1 must be made and reported to COD using the original rates of 1 percent and 4 percent.

New Maximum Eligibility Period for Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans

Eligibility for the interest subsidy on Direct Loans is now limited to a period of no more than 150 percent of the published length of a student's current program of study for new borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. More information is provided in our separate article dedicated to this topic.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

Final regulations published Nov. 1, 2012 simplified the total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge process for applications received on or after July 1, 2013. All TPD applications will now be filed directly with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and discharge may now be granted based on a disability determination by the Social Security Administration with a five-to-seven year review period. ED issued electronic announcements on May 17, May 24, June 12, June 20 and July 3 providing preliminary information regarding changes to the Direct Loan Program, FFEL Program, Perkins Loan Program and Teacher Education and Access to College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program, and to the discharge process flow.

Effective July 1, 2013, loan holders must notify guaranty agencies when they receive information from ED that a total and permanent disability discharge application has been received. Loan holders may notify the Oklahoma College Assistance Program by sending a secure email to This notification is in addition to the requirement for loan holders for canceling a Default Aversion Assistance Request or for recalling claims for these borrowers.

Maximum Eligibility Period for Direct Subsidized Loans

As a part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21) enacted July 6, 2012, Congress amended the Higher Education Act to limit the length of time a student may receive interest benefits on direct subsidized loans, if the student fails to complete his program of study, to 150 percent of the published length of the current program. Interim final rules implementing P.L. 112-141 were published in the May 16 Federal Register and provide that:

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

PBdorm's Dream Dorm Scholarship will award $1,000, including $500 cash and a $500 Pottery Barn Gift Certificate, to three qualifying students. Applicants must be college-bound high school students or current college students and are required to submit an essay. The deadline to apply is July 31. More information is available at

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Financial Literacy

Ask the Expert: How Do I 'Disaster-proof' My Finances?

If a tornado threatened your home, would you have time to gather all your personal and vital documents while taking cover? If your house was on fire, would you know the value of everything damaged to report to your insurance company? Of course it's important to know how to physically protect yourself and your loved ones from disasters, and it's important to protect yourself financially, too. 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.

In addition to those steps, consider completing a home inventory that documents 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 quickly and convincingly.

Also, consider insurance coverage for specific weather disasters. If you rent, look into purchasing renter's insurance. If you're a homeowner, consider earthquake and flood insurance. Make sure you review your policy every year and ask questions if something doesn't make sense to you.

When disaster strikes, you shouldn't have to worry about your finances. These preventive measures will allow you to focus on physical and emotional recovery when you need to most.

K-12 to College, OKMM is Here to Help


Classroom … check! Students … check! Financial education … check? The new school year will begin before you know it, and administrators, counselors, mentors and teachers want to be equipped with the best information to help students succeed. One way to promote student success is to incorporate financial education into your teaching curriculum or education plan.

Not sure where to start? OKMM provides customizable workshops, colorful publications, engaging activities and other services to help your students learn to carefully manage their money during high school and college. All of our services are available free of charge.

If your school or organization is interested in personal finance education for the students and families you serve, contact OKMM today at 800.970.OKMM (toll free) or

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Student Loan Management

Student Loan Borrowers Impacted by Recent Tornadoes

As you know, many Oklahoma citizens were affected recently by a series of tornadoes. President Obama has declared disasters in the following counties: Canadian, Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie. OCAP will be instructing borrowers impacted by the disaster to notify their lenders that they've been affected.

Federal student aid information from the U.S. Department of Education for students, borrowers and schools impacted by a natural disaster is available at

Default Prevention Training Recap


OCAP recently held a workshop to train financial aid professionals to administer in-person loan counseling. The workshop brought together 25 financial aid administrators from around the state and focused primarily on Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. Entrance counseling, required for all first time student loan borrowers, is one of the few opportunities financial aid administrators have to emphasize the importance of responsible borrowing to students. Topics covered include basic eligibility requirements, how interest rates work, successful budgeting, grace periods and the importance of timely repayment. Many of these topics are also covered in Direct Loan Exit Counseling.

In-person loan counseling is an additional tool that institutions can use to strengthen their default prevention efforts. In recent years, the trend has been for schools to rely heavily on online loan counseling options. While these online options are an effective way to counsel large numbers of students, they don't provide the kind of face-to-face interaction that allows borrowers to ask questions about their student loans or allows aid administrators to emphasize key points that are essential for every student, such as the importance of making smart borrowing choices throughout the collegiate career and repayment responsibilities.

OCAP offers a federal Direct Loan Counseling Toolkit that consists of Entrance and Exit Counseling PowerPoint presentations, quizzes for both counseling sessions, and a demographic form to collect contact and reference information from borrowers. Institutions interested in offering in-person Entrance or Exit Counseling to their students can request a toolkit from Scott DeBoard at 405-234-4233 or

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