Code of Conduct

The following Code of Conduct was last updated by a vote from NASFAA's Board of Directors in November 2020, and published in January 2021. Subject to enforcement procedures 

that went into effect July 1, 2015, NASFAA institutional members of NASFAA will ensure that:

1. No action will be taken by financial aid staff that is for their personal benefit or could be perceived to be a conflict of interest.

  1. Employees within the financial aid office will not award aid to themselves or their immediate family members. Staff will reserve this task to an institutionally designated person, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  2. If a preferred lender list is provided, it will be compiled without prejudice and for the sole benefit of the students attending the institution. The information included about lenders and loan terms will be transparent, complete, and accurate. The complete process through which preferred lenders are selected will be fully and publicly disclosed. Borrowers will not be auto-assigned to any particular lender.
  3. A borrower's choice of a lender will not be denied, impeded, or unnecessarily delayed by the institution, even if that lender is not included on the institution's preferred lender list.
  4. No amount of cash, gift, or benefit in excess of a de minimis amount shall be accepted by a financial aid staff member from any financial aid applicant (or his/her family), or from any entity doing business with or seeking to do business with the institution (including service on advisory committees or boards beyond reimbursement for reasonable expenses directly associated with such service).

2. Information provided by the financial aid office is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.

3. Institutional financial aid offers and/or other institutionally provided materials shall include the following:

  • Breakdown of estimated individual Cost of Attendance components, including which are direct (billed by the institution) costs vs. indirect (not billed by the institution) costs
  • Clear identification and proper grouping of each type of aid offered indicating whether the aid is a grant/scholarship, loan, or work program
  • Estimated net price 
  • Standard terminology and definitions, using NASFAA's glossary of terms
  • Renewal requirements for each aid type being offered as well as next steps and financial aid office contact information

4. All required consumer information is displayed in a prominent location on the institutional web site(s) and in any printed materials, easily identified and found, and labeled as "Consumer Information."

5. Financial aid professionals will disclose to their institution any involvement, interest in, or potential conflict of interest with any entity with which the institution has a business relationship.

Refer to NASFAA's Statement of Ethical PrinciplesEnforcement Procedures, as well as the Ethical Principles, Code of Conduct and Enforcement Procedures Q&A for more information about NASFAA's ethical guidelines and how they are enforced. To report a potential violation of NASFAA's Code of Conduct, refer to the Ethics Complaint Submission Form.

 

NASFAA is committed to helping member institutions create effective and ethically compliant financial aid offers. If you would like to have your schools' language reviewed by a NASFAA staff member to ensure it meets the Code of Conduct requirements, please complete the form below.

Aid Offer Review

Publication Date: 7/22/2021


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