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

Coming Soon: UCanGo2's 2014 College Planning Calendar

Do you know when the 2014 OASFAA Conference will be held? How about the College Access Counselor Retreats? When is the first ACT exam in 2014? These dates, as well as many others, are important to all college access professionals.

Fortunately, UCanGo2 researched these and other important dates for you and compiled them in our complimentary 2014 planning calendar. In addition to the major holidays, our calendar lists the dates of college entrance exams, professional days of recognition and various state and national conferences that support the work of K-12 counselors and administrators, financial aid officers, campus professionals and community partners statewide. The calendar is also packed with helpful information about planning, preparing and paying for college.

If you received our 2013 calendar, you're already on our distribution list and can expect to receive your 2014 calendar in early December. If you'd like to be added to our calendar distribution list (and you're an Oklahoma based organization that supports or promotes college access), please send your mailing address to OCAP Outreach Services at

OASFAA Decentralized Training a Success

Financial aid staff from across the state recently gathered at Tulsa Community College's Northeast Campus for the 2013 OASFAA Decentralized Training. OCAP staff provided two informational sessions as part of a full day of learning.

OCAP's training specialist, Scott DeBoard, offered training regarding the return of Title IV funding. Participants learned the general requirements for Title IV funds return and examined the steps of the return of Title IV funds formula.

OCAP's training coordinator, Liz Brandon, taught the afternoon session covering organizational alignment, including strategic planning, process improvement and program evaluation. Participants learned ways to incorporate strategic planning at all levels of an organization, how to use data to diagnose performance, team and organizational issues, and how to evaluate interventions as options for problem solving.

If you're interested in scheduling a Title IV or professional development workshop for your team, please contact OCAP's training department at or 405.234.4288.

Featured Tool

Featured Tool: Personal Finance Skill Assessment

Personal Finance QuizOklahoma Money Matters (OKMM), OCAP's financial literacy initiative, wants to help you enhance your financial education efforts. OKMM recently developed a personal finance quiz, Your Money Matters: How Financially Savvy Are You?, to help financial educators gauge their students' current understanding of money management concepts.

The quiz consists of 20 questions covering a range of topics, including:

If you provide financial education to college students, OKMM invites you to take advantage of this user-friendly assessment quiz and corresponding answer key. To request your copy, email or call 800.970.OKMM (toll free).

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Who's Who

Do You Know Linda Marshall?


Meet Linda Marshall, 11-12th grade counselor for college preparation at Harding Charter Preparatory High School. Harding Charter Prep is an Oklahoma City Public School that offers a special program, the Capstone Class, to help students prepare for college.

Tell us about the Capstone Class.

The Senior Capstone Class is the culmination of Harding Charter's college preparatory program. Through Capstone, students bring together knowledge, skills and interests developed to this point through all aspects of their education to work on college and career projects. Students with a variety of interests and backgrounds work individually and in teams, pooling resources and collaborating with faculty, community leaders and college recruiters to find solutions for issues concerning their impending graduation and entrance into college, career and society. Senior Capstone is taught seventh period and we have five teachers for the 106 students. All seniors are required to take Capstone during this time and are graded on the upkeep of their capstone binder that includes four sections: Me/Myself, College, Scholarships and Career.

The first semester of Capstone is designed to allow the students to gain as much knowledge as possible about the process of choosing potential schools, submitting college applications, and applying for scholarships to help pay for college. Students start the course by writing a résumé, cover letter and a request for a recommendation letter. Students are required to attend a college fair and design and print business cards to take with them to give the college recruiters. Students also have to research their three favorite colleges, complete comparison papers about colleges and career options, apply for at least three colleges and seven scholarships, take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and begin researching a mentor to shadow during the spring semester.

The spring semester starts with the students writing a paper about their career choice—the mentor they shadow must be in this field. If they change career mentors they must write another paper. Students are to shadow a mentor for seven weeks, including four hours each week. Roundtable discussions are held Fridays to discuss the week's mentorship. Students continue to complete scholarship applications through the semester and present a showcase of their mentorship to their parents and mentors. Students are also required to complete a financial literacy program that covers Oklahoma's graduation requirements.

What is your role in Capstone?

My role in Capstone is to prepare the curriculum binder, inform students about scholarships, provide leadership/community service opportunities to other Capstone teachers, schedule college/university visits, ensure students are meeting the requirements to graduate and coordinate with Oklahoma's Promise deadlines.

What do you find most rewarding about your career, and what are some of the challenges?

One of the most rewarding aspects is being able to provide the opportunity for students to receive scholarships or other monies to attend the college/university of their choice when they thought it would be impossible. Challenges include the time crunch and motivating students.

How has Capstone benefited the school?

Harding Charter Prep has achieved a 100 percent graduation rate with 100 percent of senior graduates accepted to college. Sixty-five percent are first generation college students. The fall semester immediately after their senior year, 89 percent of graduates enroll in college, while after the second fall after their senior year 93 percent of graduates enroll in college. Harding Senior Class of 2014 has four National Merit Semifinalists, one National Hispanic Scholar and 13 Oklahoma Academic All State Nominees.

If there was one message you could instill with your graduating seniors before they head off to college, what would it be?

Remember the important values, concepts and study skills learned at Harding Charter Prep High School.

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College Planning

Stipends Available for Hosting a College Countdown Event!

Update 1.14.14: Due to overwhelming response to our announcement of the 2014 College Countdown event sponsorship opportunity, we are unable to accept additional applications for funding at this time.

One of the most productive things you can do to help your seniors and their families prepare for college is to host a College Countdown event. These events provide information about:

In addition to UCanGo2's comprehensive collection of complimentary materials and toolkits for counselors, financial aid administrators and community partners, we offer a $1,500 stipend to help offset some of the expenses associated with advertising, promoting and conducting a College Countdown event.

College Countdown events can be hosted any time of the year that you'd like to provide specific college access information to students and their parents. February, for example, is a great time for a College Countdown event because it's when most students begin working on the FAFSA - a focused event will help the students and parents you serve learn all about FAFSA completion and why it's important.

Any Oklahoma institution, high school or community partner committed to educating potential students about pursuing education beyond high school is eligible to host a College Countdown event and apply for the stipend. For more information about the College Countdown program, the stipend and free educational tools to help you plan your event, contact OCAP Outreach Specialist Theresa Battles at 405-234-4315 or

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Financial Aid

Higher Education Benefits Available to Eligible Service Members and their Families

Veteran's Day is Nov. 11 and to recognize the significant sacrifice our military and their families shoulder on our behalf, OCAP would like to recap many of the educational benefits designed for eligible service members and their families, including additional resources for those who work with service members and their dependents.

Academic/Admission and Financial Aid Benefits

Student Loan Benefits

Deferment allows the borrower to temporarily postpone payments on student loans in both the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and William D. Ford Direct Loan (DL) programs. Deferments are entitlements that are granted in specific situations. To start the process, the borrower or his representative must contact his lenders/servicers.

Forgiveness releases the borrower or any co-maker from all or a portion of DL obligations as authorized by the Higher Education Act. Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, borrowers may be relieved of any remaining repayment obligation after making 10 years of payments while employed in a qualifying public service position. To start the process, DL borrowers must contact their DL servicer; FFEL borrowers must first consolidate their FFEL program loans under the DL program to qualify for PSLF.

Forbearance is a period of time during which the borrower is permitted to temporarily stop making payments or reduce the amount of each payment. To start the process, the borrower or the borrower's representative must contact the lenders/servicers.

Discharge is the release of a borrower from all or a portion of loan obligations. Total and permanent disability discharge is applicable for any borrower who has been determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to be either unemployable due to a service-connected condition(s) or totally disabled based on an individual lack of employability determination and who provides documentation to ED. To start the process, the borrower or the borrower's representative must contact ED's disability unit at 888.303.7818.

Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
SCRA applies to Title IV loans made prior to the eligible service member entering active duty status; it caps the maximum interest rate at 6 percent. To start the process, the borrower or the borrower's representative must submit a written request and a copy of military orders to the lenders/servicers.

HEROES Act of 2003
Borrowers who are serving on active duty during war or other military operation or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, or are residing or employed in an area that is declared a disaster area by any federal, state or local office in connection with a national emergency, are eligible for:

Borrowers who are serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency or are performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or military operation or national emergency are eligible for military deferment. For qualified borrowers, the time that an affected individual spends serving on active duty is excluded from the three-year limit for military deferments; additionally, loan holders may process the initial deferment period for one year without documentation. To start the process, the borrower or borrower's representative must contact the lenders/servicers.

Additional Resources

What's New on IFAP?

Dear Colleague Letters




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 CapRecycling not only helps save the planet, it can also help students save money on college tuition! To qualify for the $4,000 Recycling Scholarship, students need only collect 50 aluminum cans and apply for the scholarship drawing before Dec. 13 at Encourage students to start collecting today—each additional 50 cans collected will earn them another ticket for the drawing.

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Financial Literacy

Tales of Black Friday Past

Fall is upon us and one of the biggest shopping days of the year will be here soon. In honor of this momentous occasion, we've asked OCAP staffers to share some of their most memorable Black Friday stories with us. Enjoy!

—Bright and early Friday morning (2 a.m. to be precise), while waiting for a friend in the customer service line, my friends and I perused the greeting cards aisle. We found an amusing selection of ridiculous cards celebrating strange occasions and began reading them aloud, some in our best newscaster voice, others in European accents. Not only did we amuse ourselves, but we managed to entertain the people in the customer service line, too. - Matt McCreary

—My husband and I started participating in Black Friday about four years ago. We take our lawn chairs and wait in front of our favorite store for three to four hours. It's nice to enjoy quality time with him and relax after cooking all day. Over the years we've learned to bring jackets and make sure there's an umbrella in the car. We also grab some cappuccinos and remind ourselves to keep calm once the shopping begins. I'm always surprised by how rude people can be, but we try to keep our cool. We don't linger; we get what we came for and move on to the next store (the mall is really cool in the middle of the night!). In the end, we usually save a lot of cash and make our kiddos very happy Christmas morning. - Lesa Hornbeck

—Growing up, my mom and I would always go Black Friday shopping. We lived about an hour and half away from Oklahoma City, so our morning started extra early. Of course, back then most stores opened at 6 a.m., unlike the crazy midnight crowds of today. It was such a tradition that when I had knee surgery my junior year, I begged my mom to take me shopping—in a wheelchair. Of course she was smart enough to realize that wasn't a good idea, so we sat that year out. Even though we'd be away from home for 12+ hours, we rarely made a dent in our Christmas shopping. For us, the perk of Black Friday wasn't the discounts; it was the thrill of the trip, the bonding experience and the M&M Double Doozie cookies from the cookie shop in the mall that made the trip worthwhile. - Lacy Myers

—The best aspect of Black Friday shopping is staying home with a nice warm blanket and cup of coffee and watching the news cover the madness. I'm a self-proclaimed professional online shopper, so I hold out for Cyber Monday and enjoy the luxury of free shipping on orders more than $50. - Michelle Van Swearingen

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Student Loan Management

Exit Counseling for December Grads

Financial aid officers: It's time to consider exit counseling options for students who are leaving your institution at the end of the fall term. Entrance and exit counseling are often your school's first and last opportunity to collect and share important information about federal student loans and repayment with student loan borrowers. To maximize the positive impact on your borrowers, we recommend in-person counseling. Whether it's one-on-one or in a group setting, in-person counseling gives borrowers the opportunity to ask specific questions and you the opportunity to collect current demographic information—which can reduce your borrowers' likelihood of default and your school's cohort rates. If you're interested in conducting in-person entrance and exit counseling, OCAP can help!

OCAP has developed a Federal Direct Loan Counseling Toolkit to help Oklahoma's financial aid administrators meet regulatory requirements for entrance and exit counseling. This toolkit includes:

To further assist you with entrance and exit counseling, an OCAP training specialist may be able to deliver your counseling presentations. To order your Federal Direct Loan Counseling Toolkit or to discuss the possibility of scheduling a counseling presenter, contact Scott DeBoard, OCAP training specialist, at

ED Releases FFEL Special Allowance Rates

The Department of Education (ED) has released the special allowance rates for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2013.

Commercial Paper
In calculating quarterly Special Allowance commercial paper rates, ED is required to determine "the average of the bond equivalent rates of the quotes of the 3-month commercial paper (financial) rates in effect for each of the days in such quarter as reported by the Federal Reserve in Publication H-15 (or its successor) for such 3-month period." For days when a rate is unavailable, ED has used the previous available rate. Therefore, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2013, the average rate used to compute the commercial paper rate will be 0.13 percent.

In calculating quarterly Special Allowance London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR), ED is required to use "the average of the bond equivalent rates of the quotes of the 1-month LIBOR in effect for each of the days in such quarter as compiled and released by the British Bankers Association" in place of the commercial paper rate. Therefore, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2013, the average rate used to compute the LIBOR will be 0.19 percent.

Treasury Bill Rate
In calculating quarterly Special Allowance Treasury Bill rates for loans made prior to Jan. 1, 2000, pursuant to section 438, ED is required to use "the average of the bond equivalent rates of the 91 day Treasury bills as published by the Department of the Treasury." Therefore, for the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2013, the average rate used to compute the Treasury Bill rate will be 0.03 percent.

Click here to view ED's announcement regarding the new rates. If you have questions, please contact OCAP's Compliance department at 405.234.4432, 800.247.0420 (toll free) or We're here to help!

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