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Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct

Cameron University’s Statement of Ethical Principles, Code of Conduct and Title IV Loan Code of Conduct provides that the primary goal of the institutional financial aid professional is to help students achieve their educational goals through financial support and resources.  Financial aid professionals are expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity.

Statement of Ethical Principles

Advocate for students

  • Remain aware of issues affecting students and continually advocate for their interests at the institutional, state and federal levels.
  • Support federal, state and institutional efforts to encourage students, as early as the elementary grades, to aspire to and plan for education beyond high school.

Manifest the highest level of integrity

  • Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof.
  • Deal with others honestly and fairly, abiding by our commitments and always acting in a manner that merits the trust and confidence others have placed in us.
  • Protect the privacy of individual student financial records.
  • Promote the free expression of ideas and opinions, and foster respect for diverse viewpoints within the profession.

Support student access and success

  • Commit to removing financial barriers for those who want to pursue postsecondary learning and support each student admitted to our institution.
  • Without charge, assist students in applying for financial aid funds.
  • Provide services and apply principles that do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or economic status.
  • Understand the need for financial education and commit to educate students and families on how to responsibly manage expenses and debt.

Comply with federal and state laws

  • Adhere to all applicable laws and regulations governing federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
  • Actively participate in ongoing professional development and continuing education programs to ensure ample understanding of statutes, regulations, and best practices governing the financial aid programs.
  • Encourage colleagues to participate in the financial aid professional associations available to them at the state, regional, or national level and offer assistance to other aid professionals as needed.

Strive for transparency and clarity

  • Provide our students and parents with the information they need to make good decisions about attending and paying for college.
  • Educate students and families through quality information that is consumer-tested when possible. This includes (but is not limited to) transparency and full disclosure on award notices.
  • Ensure equity by applying all need-analysis formulas consistently across the institution’s full population of student financial aid applicants.
  • Inform institutions, students, and parents of any changes in financial aid programs that could affect their student aid eligibility.

Protect the privacy of financial aid applicants

  • Ensure that student and parent private information provided to the financial aid office by financial aid applicants is protected in accordance with all state and federal statutes and regulations, including FERPA and the Higher Education Act, Section 483(a)(3)(E) (20 U.S.C. 1090).
  • Protect the information on the FAFSA from inappropriate use by ensuring that this information is only used for the application, award, and administration of aid awarded under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, state aid, or aid awarded by eligible institutions.

 

Code of Conduct

No action will be taken by financial aid staff that is for their personal benefit or could be perceived to be a conflict of interest.

  • Employees within the financial aid office will not award aid to themselves or their immediate family members. Staff will reserve this task to an institutionally designated person, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • If a preferred lender list is provided, it will be compiled without prejudice and for the sole benefit of the students attending the institution. The information included about lenders and loan terms will be transparent, complete, and accurate. The complete process through which preferred lenders are selected will be fully and publically disclosed.  Borrowers will not be auto-assigned to any particular lender.
  • A borrower’s choice of a lender will not be denied, impeded, or unnecessarily delayed by the institution, even if that lender is not included on the institution’s preferred lender list
  • No amount of cash, gift, or benefit in excess of a de minims amount shall be accepted by a financial aid staff member from any financial aid applicant (or his/her family), or from any entity doing business with or seeking to do business with the institution (including service on advisory committees or boards beyond reimbursement for reasonable expenses directly associated with such service).

Information provided by the financial aid office is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.

Institutional award notifications and/or other institutionally provided materials shall include the following:

  • A breakdown of individual components of the institution’s Cost of Attendance, designating all potential billable charges.
  • Clear identification of each award, indicating type of aid, i.e. gift aid (grant, scholarship), work, or loan.
  • Standard terminology and definitions, using NASFAA’s glossary of award letter terms.
  • Renewal requirements for each award.

All required consumer information is displayed in a prominent location on the institutional web site(s) and in any printed materials, easily identified and found, and labeled as “Consumer Information.”

Financial aid professionals will disclose to their institution any involvement, interest in, or potential conflict of interest with any entity with which the institution has a business relationship.

 

Title IV Loan Code of Conduct

All revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender are prohibited. The HEOA defines “revenue-sharing arrangement” as any arrangement between an institution and a lender that results in the lender paying a fee or other benefits, including a share of profits, to the school, its officer, employees or agents, as a result of the school recommending the lender to its students or families of those students.

Employees of Cameron University are prohibited from receiving gifts of more than nominal value from a lender, guaranty agency, or loan servicer. This prohibition will apply to lenders of both federal and alternative loans.  A “gift” is defined by the HEOA as any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having monetary value of more than a nominal amount.

No officer or employee of the Cameron University Office of Financial Assistance (or employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans) may accept from a lender, or an affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.

For any first-time borrower, Cameron University will not assign, through award packaging or other methods, the student’s loan to a particular lender. The University does, however, maintain a list of recommend lenders which are meant to serve as potential options for students. The University supports all students’ rights to utilize the lender of their choice and we will not refuse to certify, or delay the certification, of any loan based on a student’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.

Cameron University will not accept from any lender any offer of funds for private loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of loans, or inclusion on a preferred lender list. An “opportunity pool loan” is defined by the HEOA as a private education loan made by a lender to a student (or the student’s family) that involves a payment by the institution to the lender for extending credit to the student.

Cameron University will not request or accept from any lender general staffing assistance with either a call center or general office staffing in the Office of Financial Aid.

An employee of the Office of Financial Aid (or employee who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid) who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender or guarantor is prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group in exchange for serving in this capacity. Employees or agents may, however, as the single exception to this rule, accept reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred while serving in this capacity.