November Edition of Your Bottom Line Now Available
In partnership with UCanGo2, Oklahoma Money Matters (OKMM) publishes a monthly newsletter called Your Bottom Line, featuring news and resources for students, consumers, campus professionals, counselors and community partners. Check out the latest edition for timely information about personal finance, college planning and student loan management. To stay up-to-date, sign up to receive Your Bottom Line every other month.
UCanGo2’s College Planning, FAFSA Completion Outreach
With the fall semester in full-swing and the Oct. 1 release of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the outreach team at the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) has been in schools and the community in full force. Its two largest objectives in the fall are promoting college preparedness and completion of the FAFSA. OCAP’s outreach team has already mailed over 1,000 college prep and FAFSA kits to counselors and presented over 80 college preparedness and FAFSA presentations around the state so far this fall.
The fall semester has always been the busiest time for UCanGo2, OCAP’s college access initiative. Through UCanGo2, OCAP’s outreach team helps counselors, teachers and administrators create a college-going culture in schools by offering on-site presentations and providing a full range of college planning resources. This includes information about academic requirements and finding the right institutional fit, career exploration tools, financial aid educational materials, scholarship guidance and much more.
In addition to presentations for students and their families, UCanGo2 also provides customized train-the-trainer sessions for educators and administrators, and UCanGo2’s College Planning Toolkit empowers counselors to help students reach their higher education goals. “Counselors and educators have a very full schedule,” said Kelli Kelnar, OCAP’s outreach manager. “Through resources and training, we try to make it as simple as possible for them to help their students prepare for education beyond high school.”
The new 2019-20 FAFSA became available Oct. 1, but OCAP’s FAFSA awareness campaign began in August. Families are encouraged to complete the application as early as possible, while federal and state funding is available. FAFSA results are also sometimes required for state and other scholarship applications, so timely completion serves multiple purposes.
“Our presentations are designed to show students and families that the FAFSA can be completed easily,” said Kelnar, “and everyone planning to attend college or a career technology center should apply. Most people who complete the FAFSA are offered some kind of aid.” These grassroots efforts are also supported by a targeted digital media campaign designed to raise FAFSA awareness among Oklahoma students and families.
This year, the outreach team’s FAFSA promotional efforts also include the National College Access Network (NCAN) FAFSA Completion Challenge, for which OCAP received a $40,000 grant to provide FAFSA completion programs and services to Oklahoma City Public Schools. NCAN’s project focuses on areas with current FAFSA completion rates below the national average and challenges grant recipients to increase their city’s FAFSA completion rates by at least 5 percent.
UCanGo2 is a comprehensive college access outreach initiative of the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, an operating division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. For additional information, like UCanGo2 on Facebook and join OCAP’s mailing lists at ocap.org/News/subscribe.shtml to receive the most important college planning and FAFSA updates. To learn more about the FAFSA, visit StartWithFAFSA.org.
OCAP’s Counselor Connect Workshops
The Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) provided four Oklahoma Counselor Connect workshops this fall, highlighting college planning services offered through the State Regents. These workshops, offered in Oklahoma City, Ardmore and Tulsa, are a new service provided by OCAP’s outreach team, taking the place of the recently discontinued National Training for Counselors and Mentors (NT4CM) workshop program.
At each workshop, OCAP’s outreach team presented new information and highlights of the 2019-20 FAFSA and the helpful resources provided through StartWithFAFSA.org, the UCanGo2.org college planning website, instructional materials provided in the FSA Financial Aid Toolkit, and updates on the new features of OKcollegestart.org, including college admission applications at the click of a button and Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) instruction and templates for Oklahoma schools. The guidelines for Oklahoma’s Promise were covered in detail and the Oklahoma Money Matters team offered a presentation about the financial education resources they provide to schools and families across the state. Information about the new Oklahoma FAFSA Data Portal (OK-FDP) was also presented, including how counselors can enroll and begin tracking their 2019 seniors’ FAFSA progress.
Oklahoma Counselor Connect workshops will continue to contribute to OCAP’s ongoing mission to provide schools and community partners the support required to empower students and families to reach their educational goals. “We knew when NT4CM was discontinued that we needed to continue providing training that supports efforts to educate students and parents as they prepare for higher education,” said Kelli Kelnar, OCAP outreach manager. “That’s why we developed Oklahoma Counselor Connect. We originally scheduled three workshops this year, but demand was so high that we added a fourth to accommodate more counselors and mentors.” Through these workshops, OCAP offers informational sessions for Oklahoma’s high school and middle school counselors, financial aid administrators, Native American program specialists and various community partners.
OCAP, an operating division of the State Regents, provides college access, aid awareness, financial literacy and student loan management programs and services that benefit students, parents, schools and community partners. OCAP offers numerous FAFSA resources for educators and students through StartWithFAFSA.org, UCanGo2.org and OKcollegestart.org. To learn more about OCAP, visit OCAP.org.
College Application Week 2018
Oklahoma College Application Week (CAW) 2018, an opportunity for high school seniors to receive hands-on assistance from knowledgeable volunteers while completing their applications to college, has been going strong. So far, 92 GEAR UP and non-GEAR up schools and organizations in Oklahoma have registered for CAW 2018. Those who are already registered represent over 9,000 high school seniors in our state.
“While these events are designed to help all students,” said Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) outreach specialist and Oklahoma College Access Network (OKCAN) member Letha Huddleston, “they’re especially beneficial for those who’ve never considered going to college or will be the first in their family to attend.”
Ninety-one Oklahoma high schools participated in CAW 2017, with 6,281 students completing applications to 284 different colleges in 41 states and six countries. “In the exit surveys that we have received so far this year,” said Huddleston, “every event coordinator has indicated that they will hold a College Application Week again next year. They all see this as an important event.”
Oklahoma GEAR UP piloted CAW in its 24 school districts in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, all high schools across the state were invited to participate. In 2015, OCAP and OK-CAN joined GEAR UP in promoting CAW, which officially took place the week of Sept. 17-21 this year, though school events can be held as late as the end of November. GEAR UP and OCAP offer free promotional materials and have used webinars and conference calls to introduce CAW to event coordinators and walk them through the program materials and resources.
College Application Week is part of a national initiative sponsored by The Kresge Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the American Council on Education. At the state level, the project is endorsed by Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the State Regents, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Chamber.
There's Still Time to Register for College App Week!
In Oklahoma, College Application Week (CAW) 2018 is still going strong. If you weren’t able to host your CAW during the designated week of September 17-21, it’s not too late! You can still plan your CAW for any date(s) through November, 2018.
Q: Why should I host a CAW at my school or organization?
A: College App Week gives every high school senior an opportunity to complete at least one online college application during school hours, while helpful staff and volunteers are available to help them through the process.
Q: What if I can’t fit a whole week of activities into my full schedule?
A: Schedule as many days as you want. Some schools designate one day as College Application Day, while others schedule two to five days for the event.
Q: Where can I find help while planning a CAW?
A: Visit OKCollegeAppWeek.org to find all the resources you need to successfully plan and host your event. You’ll find checklists for planning your CAW along with student handouts and information about Oklahoma’s higher education institutions.
Q: What are the benefits of registering for CAW? Can’t I just do it on my own?
A: While you can hold a CAW without registering, we recommend that you complete our CAW enrollment survey for two reasons.
- We’ll send you a free "I Applied" sticker for every senior who completes a college application, along with posters to promote your event.
- By registering your CAW, you're helping us track Oklahoma’s progress and success. In December, we’ll share our data with the National College Access Campaign, showing that our state values higher education and the opportunities it provides.
Q: How do I register for College Application Week 2018?
A: Complete the CAW Enrollment Survey as soon as possible. Your posters and stickers will be mailed to you shortly thereafter.
Q: How do I report my data at the end of the event?
A: Complete the Event Coordinator Exit Survey when you’ve completed your CAW activities.
Q: What have other event coordinators had to say about College Application Week?
A: Visit YouTube.com to hear past event coordinators’ comments about this important event.
Do you have a question we haven’t covered? Please contact Letha Huddleston at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 234-4345.
The FAFSA is Here!
The 2019–20 FAFSA is here! Here are a few tips you can share with your students.
This year students can access the FAFSA by visiting FAFSA.gov or by using the NEW myStudentAid mobile app. The FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after Oct. 1 to ensure priority consideration for some types of financial aid. It’s best to gather all necessary materials before starting the FAFSA. Since the 2019–20 FAFSA allows applicants to use 2017 tax information, families can use their 2017 return to complete the application right away! There's no need to wait.
To complete and submit the FAFSA online, students and one of their parents/guardians will each need to create an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID) at FSAID.ed.gov . This username/password serves as an electronic signature on the FAFSA and certain student loan applications, and allows them to access other federal student aid websites. It’s beneficial for families to create their FSA IDs before starting the FAFSA to speed up the application process. Visit UCanGo2.org to download an FSA ID Worksheet (in English and Spanish) to keep track of your information.
For more information and FAFSA resources, including educational tools and tutorial videos in English and Spanish, visit StartWithFAFSA.org.
Time to Register for College App Week!
College Application Week (CAW) 2018 is a nationwide effort to assist students as they navigate the college application process, giving them an opportunity to submit college applications with the help of knowledgeable staff and volunteers. Oklahoma’s CAW will be held September 17-21, 2018. Can’t do it then? Just schedule your CAW for any week this fall through the month of November.
So far, more than half of those who have enrolled this year are participating in CAW for the first time! Once all of our regular participants have enrolled, we have the potential of enrolling well over 100 high schools, technology centers, libraries and community centers for this important event!
If your school/organization hasn’t registered yet, take a few minutes to see what CAW is all about by listening to what these Oklahoma counselors have to say about College App Week (YouTube) and by visiting OKCollegeAppWeek.org . Be sure to investigate the three different sections (Students, Event Coordinators and Volunteers) of the website to see all of the amazing free planning resources that are available.
To assist you in planning and implementing your CAW, we’ve set up three conference calls. Click on one of the links below to register for the call of your choice.
Questions? Please feel free to contact Letha Huddleston at 405.234.4345.
2017 College Application Week Results & Call for Photos
We’re pleased to announce the results of our statewide 2017 College Application Week (CAW) efforts. The following numbers represent all schools registered for the CAW 2017 sponsored by the Oklahoma College Assistance Program and OK GEAR UP program!
- Number of participating high schools: 91
- Number of students who completed college applications: 6,281
- Number of colleges to which students applied: 284, representing 41 states and six countries
We saw a tremendous increase over CAW 2016, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger CAW this year! Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to our students.
Do you have any photos or video footage from your College App Week that you’d like to share?
We’d like to showcase your CAW activities in our next promotion video for CAW 2018. To submit your photos or video footage, email them to Landis Tindell at email@example.com.
If you provide photos or video footage, we’re required to make sure that release forms are signed for the students who appear in the images you send.
- Use the Email Consent and Release form if you can verify that every student and parent in the images has signed a blanket form granting permission for their image to be used for publicity, according to your school’s policy. One representative of your school who has authority to give consent for us to use the images and/or video footage must send the form to Landis Tindell.
- Use the Consent and Release form if there is no blanket form granting permission to use a student’s or parent’s image for publicity. Each student and parent in the images should sign his/her own form. If the student is under the age of 18, a parent must also sign. Consent and Release forms signed by individual students/parents can be scanned and emailed to Landis Tindell or faxed to Letha Huddleston at 405.234.4390.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
The Oklahoma FAFSA Data Portal is Available!
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) and the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) are now offering the Oklahoma FAFSA Data Portal (OK-FDP), a free online tool to help counselors, principals and mentors better assist their high school seniors successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
By giving authorized individuals from Oklahoma school districts access to student-level information on FAFSA completion status, the OK-FDP will allow educators to provide more targeted assistance to their students. This is instrumental in increasing FAFSA completion rates – especially among first-generation students pursuing postsecondary education. Learn more and get started here!
November 12: Veterans Day Observed, OCAP offices open
November 13–14: OSRHE Counselor Retreat, Stroud
November 22: Thanksgiving Day — OCAP offices closed
November 23: OCAP offices closed
December 1: SAT Test Date
December 8: ACT Test Date
December 25: Christmas — OCAP offices closed
December 26: OCAP offices closed