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Institutional Code of Conduct for Educational Loans

 

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Institutional Code of Conduct for Educational Loans

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The Higher Education Act (HEA) requires that all schools enforce a code of conduct governing educational loan activities. Loan activities at Everglades University are those that are associated with any loan made under the Federal Direct Loan Program or any private educational loan. Any loan not made or guaranteed under Title IV of the HEA, and is issued to a borrower for an educational expense is referred to as a private education loan.

 

This Institutional Code of Conduct applies to:

 

  • All officers
  • All employees
  • All trustees
  • Contract employees
  • Any agent – board members or other organizations that are directly or indirectly associated with anyone employed at Everglades University

 

Revenue Sharing Prohibited

 

The Institution’s officers, employees or any agents are prohibited from accepting any solicitation or fee of any sort or participating in any profit sharing in any form, for the exchange of recommending a student to a specific private loan lender or any of that lender’s products.

 

Impermissible Activities

 

Officers, employees and any agent of the institution that is employed by the financial aid office, or who has contact with any private education loans or responsibilities with respect to federal loans, may not accept or solicit gifts from any private student loan lender or servicer. See exceptions under “Permissible Activities”.

 

Definition of Gift

A favor, any gratuity, entertainment (this includes sporting events, alcoholic beverages, shows, travel or meals) or financial benefit.

 

If you are offered a gift by a lender or servicer, you must decline the offer of a gift immediately. Your family members and close friends must not accept gifts from a lender or servicer if the gift was offered because of your position with the institution.

 

A “gift” does not include standard materials, activities or programs on issues related to a loan product, default prevention, debt management or financial literacy, such as a brochure, a workshop or training, provided that students are informed of the name of any education lender or servicer that assisted in preparing or providing such materials, activities or programs.  Printed materials must contain the name of the education lender or servicer that provided such materials and should not contain any institution logos or trademarks.

 

The institution may also use online entrance and exit counseling tools provided by lenders or by servicers of loans, as long as:

a.       The Institution is in control of the counseling session; and

b.      The counseling does not promote the specific products or services of any specific lender.

 

 

Permissible Activities

 

Officers, employees and any agent of the institution may accept informational material provided as part of training by a lender or servicer. As long as the materials are a form of marketing or advertising such as pens, pencils, notepads, sticky-notes, rulers, calculators, small tote bags, or any daily usable office supply items.

 

When a lender or servicer provides training or professional development you may accept food, or any informational material provided as part of training by a lender or servicer provided the training contributes to your professional development.

 

If you are invited by a lender or servicer to a meal or form of entertainment you must pay for your own expenses. If appropriate under the institutions expense reimbursement policy, you may request reimbursement from the institution. 

 

Packaging of Private Loans

 

A student may be packaged for a private loan under the following conditions:

 

  • The student refuses to apply for a Title IV loan, including a Parent PLUS loan
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has not been filled out
  • The student has exhausted the limits of his or her eligibility for Title IV loans (Federal Stafford, and as applicable, Parent PLUS)
  • The student is ineligible for additional funding

 

Choice of Lender

 

Impermissible Activities

 

The institution has a Preferred Lender List (PLL) that the financial aid office will not use to:

 

  • Obstruct or deny a borrower’s choice of lender
  • Delay certifying a loan that is not on the PLL
  • Designate a first time borrower’s loan to a particular lender
  • Require that the student use a lender on the PLL

 

Permissible Activities

 

Officers, employees and any agent of the institution that is employed in the financial aid office can make known of the PLL that is viewable on the institutions website. Student can apply with any lender on the list or any other lender of choice.

 

Consulting and Contractual Arrangements

 

Officers, employees and any agent of the institution who is employed in the financial aid office or has direct responsibilities or involvement with educational loans will not accept from any lender or its affiliate any payment, fee, or other financial benefit as a compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide service to or on behalf of the lender. A prohibited financial benefit includes the opportunity to purchase stock on less than free market terms.

 

 

Loan Counseling

 

The Institution may accept assistance from the lender in conducting the initial entrance or exit loan counseling for students provided:

 

  • Financial Aid staff is in control of the counseling
  • The lender does not promote a specific product or service. However, the lender may promote benefits under other available federal and state programs.

 

Opportunity Pools

 

Definition

An opportunity pool means an educational loan made by a private lender to a borrower that the Institution guarantees in any manner or that involves the Institution directly or indirectly paying points, premiums, additional interest, or other financial support to the lender for the purpose of that lender extending credit to the borrower.

 

Impermissible Activities

 

The Institution will not promise to deliver a specified number of loans or loan volume by soliciting or accepting from any lender an opportunity pool to be used for private educational loans.

 

Permissible Activities

 

The Institution may solicit any lender for an opportunity pool to be used for private education loans, if it is not provided in exchange for a promise that the Institution will deliver to the lender a specified number of loans or volume.

 

Preferred Lender Arrangements

 

Definition of Preferred Lender Arrangement

An arrangement or agreement between the institution and an organization affiliated with the institution and a lender that provides an educational loan to students in which the institution promotes or endorses the lender’s education loan product.

 

Any private lender with whom the institution or any of its affiliated organizations displays information and documentation related to the lender loans is considered a lender arrangement.

 

Preferred Lender List (PLL)

Private lenders that the institution recommends are considered a preferred lender list.

 

Preferred Lender List Alternatives

 

The Institution may provide an overall list of lenders that have made loans to our students or parents in the past so long as those lenders have indicated that they would continue to make loans to our students or parents in the future. None of the information provided will discuss the percentage of loans made to our students, and any additional information regarding the lender is prohibited. The Institution will make a clear statement that the student can choose to use any private lender of their choice and that we do not endorse the lender.  

 

Publications

 

Impermissible Activities

 

The institution will not allow a private lender to use the name of the institution, logo, emblem or symbol in marketing the private educational loan to our students or parents implying that the institution endorses the lender’s private educational loans.

 

Permissible Activities

 

The institution can accept complimentary default prevention, debt management or financial literacy materials, such as a brochure publication from a private lender or servicer. The materials are to disclose the identity of the entity that assisted in preparing or providing the materials. Entrance and exit loan counseling materials, on-line resources, and counseling materials may also be allowed at the institution. 

 

Assistance in Staffing

 

Impermissible Activities

 

The institution is not permitted to allow a private lender to staff any financial aid offices.   

 

Technology

 

Impermissible Activities

 

The Institution is prohibited from accepting any computer hardware or computer software that is not related to financial aid or educational loan processing.

 

Permissible Activities

 

The Institution is allowed to accept free of charge from the lender or financial aid servicer related software, loan processing data transmission services, and a toll-free telephone number to obtain information on educational loans. Violations of the institutions policies, including the failure to avoid a prohibited activity or disclose a conflict of interest in a timely manner, will be dealt with in accordance with applicable policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the institution.

 

Seeking Assistance

 

If you have a question regarding any statement contained in this Institutional Code of Conduct, or you are aware of any breach, please contact Seeta Singh or Kristi Mollis at (561) 912-1211.