The Appalachian School of Law seeks to ensure transparency in the administration of its student financial aid program and avoid harm that may arise from actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest. In addition, the Higher Education Opportunity Act sets conditions for educational institutions to participate in Title IV programs and requires the development of and compliance with a code of conduct prohibiting conflicts of interest for its financial aid personnel [HEOA § 487(a)(25)]. To fulfill these institutional goals and to comply with federal law, ASL has adopted the following code of conduct, and all officers, employees, and agents of ASL who have student-loan responsibilities must comply with this code.
Ban on revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender
Neither ASL as an institution nor any individual officer, employee, or agent shall enter into any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender.
Ban on receiving gifts from a lender, guaranty agency, or loan servicer
No officer, employee, agent, or any of their family members shall solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. For purposes of this prohibition, the term “gift” means any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item with a monetary value of more than a minimal amount.
Ban on contracting arrangements
No officer, employee, or agent 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 education-loan services to a lender or on behalf of a lender.
Prohibition against steering borrowers to particular lenders or delaying loan certifications
ASL shall not assign through award packaging or other methods any first-time borrower’s loan to a particular lender or 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 of funds for private loans
ASL shall not request or accept from any lender an offer of funds for private loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of Title IV loans made, insured, or guaranteed, a specified loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement. An “opportunity pool loan” is defined as a private education loan made by a lender to a student that involves a payment by the institution to the lender for extending credit to the student.
Ban on staffing assistance
ASL shall not request or accept from any lender assistance with call-center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
Ban on advisory board compensation
No one employed in the financial aid office or charged with any responsibilities with respect to education loans or other student financial aid shall derive any material benefit from serving on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors. However, such individuals may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred by serving on such an advisory board, commission, or group.