Code of Conduct for Educational Loan Officers
The Office of Student Financial aid and Scholarships (OSFAS) considers every aspect of the administration of educational loans to be a vital part of its compliance responsibilities and service to students and their families. In conducting the responsibilities mandated by statute, regulation, and/or other directive as well as those associated with quality service delivery, the OSFAS adheres to the following guiding principles:
I. Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, all Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans as well as all Parent and Graduate PLUS Loans will be made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. As a result of this requirement, all relationships and related potential issues with lenders that could be related to the administration of these programs under the Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program have ceased.
II. The OSFAS will continue to process private educational loans through any lender requested by the borrower without any prejudice. When appropriate, and in what is believed to be the borrower's best interest, timely communication will be initiated to help ensure that the borrower is aware of any perceived, potential issues that might arise from his or her lender selection; however, the borrower's lender choice will always be honored.
III. The OSFAS will continue to maintain a professional relationship with all lenders of private educational loans with whom it has worked during recent years. In an effort to assist in the selection of a lender, a listing of all lenders from whom USC students have borrowed private educational loans in the past five years will be made available. Students wishing to borrow a private educational loan may select from those in this list of lenders who, to the best of OSFAS knowledge, are currently active lenders, or they may select a lender of their choice. The OSFAS is not allowed to offer any endorsement or provide any specific information about these lenders; however, it encourages students and parents to learn all they can about any lender and loan product they are considering. A great deal of information should be available on the lender's website. The OSFAS staff will continue to respond to specific questions about any lenders listed to the extent of their knowledge. It is generally best for a borrower to continue with the same lender for all private educational loan borrowing.
III. The OSFAS and staff will never request or accept anything of value from any lender in exchange for any advantage related to loan volume, assigned placement on any lender listing, or any similar activity or benefit. Income or profit sharing relationships are clearly seen by the OSFAS as inappropriate as are any types of social or entertainment related gifts. Further, the OSFAS staff will ensure that the information they provide is accurate, unbiased, and that it does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential gain. Staff will always refrain from taking any action believed to be contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students being served.
IV. While the staff of the OSFAS fully appreciates the value of working in consort with lenders to improve the quality of their goods and services, no individual members of the OSFAS will accept anything of value, including reimbursement for associated travel, for participation on lender advisory or governing boards.
V. The OSFAS will neither request nor accept any staffing services from employees of a lender. Should there be any casual conversation between a on-campus visiting lender and a student , OSFAS officials will ensure that the lender employee does nothing to misrepresent him or herself to a student in a way that might be construed as being a representative of the University. Further, the OSFAS will never participate in the branding of private educational loans with the school's name.
VI. While written specifically in association with the administration of student loans within the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, the University of South Carolina recognizes that this code applies to all of its administration, faculty, staff, and affiliated organizations. Further, the University agrees to guard against any relationship that could be construed to reflect impropriety with regard to the administration of educational loans by or with the University.
Revised 10-11; reviewed and updated 01/13