UAH

Code of Coduct

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID CODE OF CONDUCT

It is the policy of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to prohibit conflicts of interest with respect to education loans, whether those loans are Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or private education loans.  UAH will annually inform all of its institutional officers, employees, and agents with responsibilities for student loan activities and decisions of the provisions of this Code.  This Code is supplemental to existing university policies related to conflicts of interest and commitment.

1.  REVENUE-SHARING ARRANGEMENTS WITH ANY LENDER.

(a) PROHIBITION.  UAH will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.

(b) DEFINITION.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term 'revenue-sharing arrangement' means an arrangement between UAH and a lender under which-

(i) a lender provides or issues a FFEL Program loan or private education loan to students attending UAH or to the families of such students; and

(ii) UAHunstville recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to UAH, an officer or employee of UAH, or an agent.

2.  GIFTS.

(a)  PROHIBITION.  No officer or employee of UAH who is employed in the financial aid office of UAH or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to FFEL Program loans or private education loans, or any agent for such office who has responsibilities with respect to such loans, shall solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of FFEL Program loans or private education loans.

(b)  DEFINITION OF GIFT.

(i) IN GENERAL.  In this paragraph, the term 'gift' means 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.

(ii) EXCEPTIONS.  The term 'gift' shall not include any of the following:

(1)  Standard material, 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)  Food, refreshments, training, or informational material furnished to an officer or employee of UAH, or to an agent, as an integral part of a training session that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of FFEL Program loans to UAH, if such training contributes to the professional development of the officer, employee, or agent.

(3)  Favorable terms, conditions, and borrower benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by UAH if such terms, conditions, or benefits are comparable to those provided to all students of UAH.

(4)  Entrance and exit counseling services provided to borrowers to meet UAH's responsibilities for entrance and exit counseling as required by 34 CFR §§682.604(f) and 682.604(g), as long as UAH's staff are in control of the counseling (whether in person or via electronic capabilities) and such counseling does not promote the products or services of any specific lender.

(5)  Philanthropic contributions to UAH from a lender, servicer, or guarantor of FFEL Program loans or private education loans that are unrelated to FFEL Program loans or private education loans or any contribution from any lender, guarantor, or servicer that is not made in exchange for any advantage related to FFEL Program loans or private education loans.

(6)  State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State.

(iii) RULE FOR GIFTS TO FAMILY MEMBERS.  For purposes of this paragraph, a gift to a family member of an officer or employee of UAH, to a family member of an agent, or to any other individual based on that individual's relationship with the officer, employee, or agent, shall be considered a gift to the officer, employee, or agent if

(1)  the gift is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the officer, employee, or agent; and

(2)  the officer, employee, or agent has reason to believe the gift was given because of the official position of the officer, employee, or agent.

3.  CONSULTING OR OTHER CONTRACTING ARRANGEMENTS.

(a)  PROHIBITION.  An officer or employee who is employed in the financial aid office of UAH or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, shall not 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.

(b)  EXCEPTIONS.  Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as prohibiting

(i) an officer or employee of UAH who is not employed in UAH's financial aid office and who does not otherwise have responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who does not have responsibilities with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans;

(ii) an officer or employee of UAH who is not employed in UAH's financial aid office but who has responsibility with respect to education loans as a result of a position held at UAH, or an agent who has responsibility with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans, if UAH shall at time of such service have a written conflict of interest policy that clearly sets forth that officers, employees, or agents must recuse themselves from participating in any decision of the board regarding education loans at UAH; or

(iii) an officer, employee, or contractor of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans from serving on a board of directors, or serving as a trustee, of an institution, if UAH shall at the time of such service have a written conflict of interest policy that the board member or trustee must recuse themselves from any decision regarding education loans at UAH.

4.  DIRECTING BORROWERS TO PARTICULAR LENDERS OR DELAYING LOAN CERTIFICATIONS.

PROHIBITION.  UAH will not

(i) For any first-time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower's loan to a particular lender; or

(ii) Refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower's selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency

5.  OFFERS OF FUNDS FOR PRIVATE LOANS.

(a)  PROHIBITION.  UAH will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the UAH providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with

(i) A specified number of FFEL Program loans or private education loans ;

(ii) A specified loan volume of such loans; or

(iii) A preferred lender arrangement for such loans.

(b) DEFINITION OF OPPORTUNITY POOL.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term opportunity pool loan means a private education loan made by a lender to a student attending UAH or the family member of such a student that involves a payment, directly or indirectly, by such institution 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.

6.  STAFFING ASSISTANCE.  

(a)  PROHIBITION.  UAH will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing,

(b)  EXCEPTIONS.  UAH may request or accept assistance from a lender related to 

(i)  Professional development training for financial aid administrators;

(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; or

(iii) Staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis to assist UAH 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.          

7.  ADVISORY BOARD COMPENSATION.

(a)  PROHIBITION.  Any UAH employee who is employed in its Financial Aid Office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to FFEL Program loans or private education loans or other student financial aid of UAH, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, must not receive anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors.

(b)  EXCEPTIONS.  UAH employees may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses, as that term is defined in 34 CFR §668.16(d) (2) (ii), incurred in serving on such advisory board, commission, or group.

8.  SANCTIONS.

Violations of this Code will be dealt with in accordance with applicable UAH policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment by the University.