The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires educational institutions to develop and comply with a code of conduct that prohibits conflicts of interest for financial aid personnel. Any Whatcom Community College officer, employee, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to student educational loans must comply with this code of conduct.
It is always the intent of Whatcom Community College to support the principles of this Code of Conduct with practices described in this Code of Conduct. Should a practice or policy arise which appears to be in conflict with this Code of Conduct, it is the obligation of the financial aid professional to bring this to the attention of those responsible within the appropriate College function or to the Administration and to seek timely resolution consistent with these principles.
The obligations in the Code of Conduct are in addition to any requirement imposed by state ethics laws, federal laws, or Whatcom Community College policies, i.e., the stricter standard of ethical behavior will apply in all instances. Violations of this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.
- Neither Whatcom Community College as an institution nor any individual officer, employee or agent shall enter into any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender. (Revenue-sharing arrangement includes circumstances where an institution recommends a lender or the loan products of a lender who provides or issues a loan in exchange for a fee or provision of material benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to the institution, or employee or agent of the institution)
- No officer or employee of Whatcom Community College who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, 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 having monetary value of more than a de minimis amount whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred).
- An officer or employee of Whatcom Community College who is employed in the financial aid office 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.
- Whatcom Community College shall not for any first-time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower's loan to a particular private lender or refuse to certify, or delay certification of any educational loan based on the borrower's selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
- Whatcom Community College 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 the institution providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with:
- a specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under Title IV
- a specified loan volume of such loans: or
- a preferred lender arrangement for such loans.
- Whatcom Community College shall not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
- Any Whatcom Community College employee who is employed in the financial aid office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or other financial aid, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantor, shall be prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantor, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such an advisory board, commission, or group. (Any and all reimbursement received for any service on advisory boards, commissions or other groups by lenders, servicers, or guarantors must be reported annually to the Department of Education by Whatcom Community College).