Code of Conduct for Education Loans
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended ("HEA"), Title IV, Part G., Section 487(a)(25), requires the University of the Ozarks ("Ozarks") to administer and enforce the following code of conduct to govern educational loans. Ozarks' officers, employees, and agents including alumni organization, athletic organization, and professional organizations shall comply with this code of conduct.
This code of conduct shall be prominently published on the website. At a minimum, officers, employees, and agents, with responsibilities associated with educational loans, will be annually informed of the provisions of the code of conduct.
Code of Conduct Requirements
Ban on Revenue-Sharing Arrangements
- Prohibition—Ozarks shall not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
- Definition—For purposes of this section, the term "revenue-sharing arrangement" means an arrangement between Ozarks and a lender under which (i) a lender provides or issues a loan that is made, insured, or guaranteed under this title to students attending Ozarks or to the families of such students; and (ii) Ozarks 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 Ozarks, an officer or employee of Ozarks, or an agent of Ozarks.
- Prohibition—Officers and employees of Ozarks who are employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise have responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agents who have responsibilities with respect to education loans shall not solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans.
Generally -- for purposes of this section, the term "gift" means any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than the minimum 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.
Contracting Arrangements Prohibited
- Prohibition -- An officer or employee who is employed in the financial aid office at Ozarks 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.
Interaction with Borrowers
- Prohibition -- Ozarks shall not: (1) for any first time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender; or (2) refuse to certify, or delay certification of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
Prohibition on Offers or Funds for Private Loans
- Prohibition -- Ozarks shall 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 Ozarks providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with (i) a specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under this title; (ii) a specified loan volume of such loans; or (iii) a preferred lender arrangement for such loans.
Private education loan—for purposes of this section, the term "private education loan" -- means a loan provided by a private educational lender that: (i) is not made, insured, or guaranteed under of title IV of the HEA; and (ii) is issued expressly for postsecondary educational expenses to a borrower, regardless of whether the loan is provided through the educational institution that the subject student attends or directly to the borrower from the private educational lender.
Ban on Staffing Assistance
- Prohibition -- Ozarks shall not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
- Certain Assistance Permitted—Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit Ozarks from requesting or accepting assistance from a lender related to the following: (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 shortterm, nonrecurring basis to assist Ozarks 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.
Advisory Board Compensation
Any employee who is employed in the financial aid office of Ozarks, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or other student financial aid at Ozarks, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders, or guarantors, shall be prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such advisory board, commission, or group.