The following Code of Conduct is proposed to govern the education lending practices of Massachusetts public colleges in an effort to help ensure integrity in all aspects of the student educational loan program. This policy formalizes long- standing code of conducts practiced by public institutions of higher education in their efforts to provide affordable access to higher education.
The Board of Higher Education believes that the practice of institutions, in recommending lenders for federal and private loans, should be based on the cost of the loan but may also consider such factors as the ease and speed of the application process, funds disbursement, and quality customer service, all of which must focus on the best interest and needs of students and without direct regard for any financial advantage to the institution.
Institutions must inform students and their families that they may select the lender of their choice; but to safeguard against predatory lenders, the institutions should provide information to the student that would enable them to make a decision regarding the best possible loan option, with the most favorable terms, customer service, and lender integrity.
The primary goal of the institution and its financial aid staff is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. To this end, this document provides institutions, specifically financial aid professionals, with a set of principles that serves as a common foundation for an acceptable standard of conduct.
Institutions and their Financial Aid Professionals shall:
Further, institutions shall ensure that all officers, trustees, directors, employees or agents, and financial aid professionals adhere to the following:
Any employee who believes that any provision of this policy has been violated shall report such violation to the Chair of the institution's Board of Trustees, who shall then be responsible for immediately notifying the Chair and Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education. Upon review of the matter, the Board of Higher Education shall refer the violation to the Office of the Attorney General, if deemed appropriate.