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LINFIELD COLLEGE CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY AND CODE OF CONDUCT FOR FINANCIAL AID PROFESSIONALS

I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to prohibit conflicts of interest in situations involving student financial aid and to establish standards of conduct for employees with responsibility for student financial aid.

 

II. Applicability

This Policy applies to all employees who work in the Office of Financial Aid and all other College employees who have responsibilities related to education loans or other forms of student financial aid.[1]

 

III. Definitions

A. Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s financial interests or other opportunities for personal benefit may compromise, or reasonably appear to compromise, the independence of judgment with which the employee performs his/her responsibilities at the College.

B. Gift
Any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount. The term includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging, or meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred. The term “gift” does not include any of the following:

  1. Standard materials, activities, or programs on issues related to a loan, default aversion, default prevention, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, a workshop, or training.
  2. Training or informational material furnished to the College as an integral part of a training session that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of educational loans to the College, if such training contributes to the professional development of the College’s employees.
  3. Favorable terms, conditions, and borrower benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the College or an employee who is the parent of a student if such terms, conditions, or benefits are comparable to those provided to all students of the College and are not provided because of the student’s or parent’s employment with the College.
  4. Entrance and exit counseling services provided to borrowers to meet the College’s responsibilities for entrance and exit counseling under federal law, so long as the College’s employees are in control of the counseling, and such counseling does not promote the products or services of any specific lender.
  5. Philanthropic contributions to an institution from a lender, servicer, or guarantor of education loans that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution from any lender, guarantor, or servicer that is not made in exchange for any advantage related to education loans.
  6. State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State.

C. Opportunity pool loan
A private education loan made by a lender to a student attending the College or the family member of such a student that involves a payment, directly or indirectly, by the College of points, premiums, additional interest, or financial support to such lender for the purpose of such lender extending credit to the student or the family.

D. Revenue-sharing arrangement
An arrangement between the College and a lender under which (a) a lender provides or issues a loan to students attending the College or to their families; and (b) the College recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other materials benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to the College or its employees.

E. Lender
Unless otherwise indicated, a private education lender as defined in the federal Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. §1631 et seq.

 

IV. Institutional Policy Regarding Education Loans and Student Financial Aid

A. Revenue-Sharing Arrangements
The College will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.

B. Interaction with Borrowers
When participating in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), the College will not assign a first-time borrower’s federal loan, through award packaging or other methods, to a particular lender. The College will not refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any federal loan based on the borrower’s selection or a particular lender or guaranty agency.

When participating in the Federal Direct Loan Program, the College may assign a first-time borrower’s federal loan to the Federal Government as the lender.

Under no circumstances will the College assign a student’s private student loan to a particular lender, or refuse to certify or delay certification of any private loan, based upon the borrower’s selection of lender or guaranty agency.

C. Private Loans
The College will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans,[2] including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the College providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with (i) a specified number of federal loans; (ii) a specified federal loan volume; or (iii) a preferred lender arrangement for federal loans.

D. Co-Branding
The College will not permit a lender to use the College’s name, emblem, mascot, logo, or any other words, pictures, or symbols associated with the College to imply endorsement of private educational loans by that lender.

E. Staffing Assistance
The College will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing. Nothing in this section, however, prevents the College from accepting assistance from a lender related to (i) professional development training for its staff; (ii) providing educational counseling materials, financial literacy materials, or debt management materials to borrowers, provided that such materials disclose to borrowers the identification of any lender that assisted in preparing or providing such materials and state in the same font and same manner as the predominant text on the document that borrowers have the right and ability to select the lender of their choice; or (iii) staffing services on a short-term, non­recurring basis to assist the College with financial aid-related functions during emergencies, including State-declared or federally declared natural disasters, federally declared national disasters, and other localized disasters and emergencies identified by the Secretary of Education.

 

V. Code of Conduct

A. Conflicts of Interest

  1. No employee shall have a conflict of interest with respect to any education loan or other student financial aid for which the employee has responsibility.
  2. No employee may process any transaction related to his/her own personal financial aid eligibility or that of a relative.[3]

B. Gifts
No employee may accept anything of more than nominal value ($50)  from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans during any 12-month period. A gift to a family member of an employee or to any other individual based on that individual’s relationship with the employee shall be considered a gift to the employee if the gift is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the employee and the employee has reason to believe the gift was given because of the employee’s position at the College.

Token awards from professional associations (state, regional, or national) that recognize professional milestones or extraordinary service to parents and students, may be accepted.

C. Prohibited Contracting Arrangements
No employee shall accept from any lender or affiliate of any lender any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.

D. Advisory Board Compensation
College employees are prohibited from serving on the advisory board of any education loan lending institution.  Education loan lending institutions may obtain advice and opinions of financial aid officials on financial aid products and services through Trade Associations, industry surveys or other mechanisms that do not require service on education loan lending institution advisory boards, provided such person receives no compensation for such service.  This provision shall not apply to participation on advisory boards that are unrelated in any way to financial aid or higher education loans.

E. Reimbursement of Expenses
Expenses incurred while attending professional association meetings or conferences must be paid by the College. Entertainment expenses such as concert or sports tickets or greens fees may not be accepted. Employees are expected to personally pay for such expenses or request reimbursement from the College in accordance with College policy.

F. Meals
Employees may occasionally need to share meals with employees of lenders, guaranty agencies, the State of Oregon, or other colleges or universities in the course of business. Meals offered as a part of meetings, conferences, or other events may be accepted if all participants in the meeting or event are offered the meals or if the meals are included as a part of a registration fee.

 

VI. Policy Violations

Violations of this Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

 

VII. History



[1] Agents of the College with responsibility for education loans or other student financial aid are also expected to abide by the terms of this Policy.

[2] As defined in the federal Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. §1631 et seq.

[3] For the purposes of this Policy, a “relative” is defined as an individual with whom an employee has a relationship by blood, marriage, adoption, domestic partnership, or other personal relationship in which objectivity might be impair