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FAO Code of Conduct

The Radford University Financial Aid Office staff are committed to the highest standards of professional conduct. We are members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and follow their code of conduct and have also developed additional principles that are followed.

NASFAA Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals

An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:

  • Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
  • Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
  • Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
  • Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
  • Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
  • Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.

RU Code of Conduct

In addition to the NASFAA Code of Conduct, the following principles are followed:

This code reflects the university's continuing commitment to conducting financial aid practices with integrity, free from conflicts of interest, in the interest of students, and in compliance with applicable law.

Definition

For purpose of this code of conduct, lending institution means:

(a) Any entity that itself or through an affiliate engages in the business of making loans to students, parents or others for purposes of financing higher education expenses or that securitizes such loans; or

(b) Any entity, or association of entities, that guarantees or services education loans; or

(c) Any industry, trade or professional association that receives money from any entity described above in subsections (a) and (b).

I. Prohibition on Revenue Sharing with Lending Institutions and on Solicitation or Acceptance of Remuneration or Assistance from a Lending Institution

The Financial Aid Office prohibits any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lending institution. Revenue sharing is any arrangement by which a lender pays the university a percentage of the principal loan taken by a borrower or otherwise compensates the university as a result of a borrower taking a loan.

The Financial Aid Office may not accept or solicit anything of value from any lending institution related to its education loan activity. This prohibition shall include, but not be limited to, (i) revenue sharing by a lending institution with the Financial Aid Office, (ii) the Financial Aid Office's receipt from any lending institution of any computer hardware for which the university pays below-market prices and (iii) printing costs or services.

The Financial Aid Office also may not accept or solicit staffing assistance from a lending institution, including but not limited to call center staffing or financial aid office staffing. The Financial Aid Office shall ensure that it does not identify any employee or other agent of a lending institution to students or prospective students of the university or their parents as an employee or agent of the university.

II. Ban on Opportunity Loans

The Financial Aid Office shall not arrange with a lending institution to provide any opportunity loans, if the provision of such opportunity loans prejudices any other borrower.

The Financial Aid Office also may not accept or solicit any funds to be used for private educational loans or opportunity pool loans in exchange for providing a lending institution with a specified number of federal loans, a specified loan volume or a preferred lender arrangement.

For purpose of this code, an opportunity loan agreement is an arrangement whereby a lending institution agrees to make loans up to a specified aggregate amount to students with poor or no credit history, or to international students whom the lending institution claims would not otherwise be eligible for its loan programs, in exchange for concessions or promises by a university that may prejudice other borrowers.

III. Ban on Actions that Limit a Borrower's Choice of Lending Institutions

The Financial Aid Office shall not assign a first-time borrower to a particular lender, or refuse to certify, or delay certification, of any loan based on the borrower's selection of a lending institution.

IV. Prohibition on Gifts and Remuneration to University Employees

The Financial Aid Office shall inquire and ensure that no employee of the Financial Aid Office solicits or accepts gifts or anything of more than de minimus value on his or her own behalf or on behalf of another from or on behalf of a lending institution, except that this provision shall not be construed to prohibit Financial Aid staff from conducting non-university business with any lending institution. Nothing in this provision or otherwise shall prevent the staff from holding membership in any nonprofit professional association. This prohibition shall include, but not be limited to, any ban on any payment or reimbursement by a lending institution to a Financial Aid Office employee for lodging, meals, or travel to conferences or training seminars.

For purpose of this code, "gifts" include any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount, including services, transportation, lodging, and meals. A gift does not include standard materials, activities or programs related to a loan being provided; favorable terms, conditions or borrower benefits provided to a student employed by the university if comparable terms are provided to all students of the university; philanthropic contributions to an institution unrelated to education loans; or state education grants, scholarships or financial aid funds.

V. Limitations on University Employees Participating on Lender Advisory Boards

The university prohibits any Financial Aid Office employee of the university from receiving any remuneration for serving as a member or participant of an advisory board of a lending institution, or receiving any reimbursement of expenses for so serving, provided, however, that participation on advisory boards that are unrelated in any way to higher education loans shall not be prohibited by the code.

VI. Prohibition on Consulting for Lending Institutions by Financial Aid Officers and Other Employees or Officers who have Student Lending Responsibilities

Individuals employed in a financial aid office are prohibited from consulting or providing other contract services for a lending institution.

VII. Prohibition on Stock Ownership in Lending Institutions by Financial Aid Officers

A person employed as a financial aid officer of the university shall not own stock or hold any another financial interest in a lending institution, other than through ownership of shares in a publicly traded mutual fund or similar investment vehicle in which the person does not exercise any discretion regarding the investment of the assets of the investment vehicle.