Code of Conduct
The Westfield State University financial aid office has adopted the following NASFAA and Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Statements of Ethical Principles and Codes of Conduct to ensure the highest ethical behavior and professional practices.
NASFAA STATEMENT OF ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
The financial aid office of Westfield State University follows NASFAA’s Statement of Ethical Principles, which provides that the primary goal of the institutional financial aid professional is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. To this end, this Statement provides that the financial aid professional shall:
- Be committed to removing financial barriers for those who wish to pursue postsecondary learning.
- Make every effort to assist students with financial need.
- Be aware of the issues affecting students and advocate their interests at the institutional, state, and federal levels.
- Support efforts to encourage students, as early as the elementary grades, to aspire to and plan for education beyond high school.
- Educate students and families through quality consumer information.
- Respect the dignity and protect the privacy of students, and ensure the confidentiality of student records and personal circumstances.
- Ensure equity by applying all need analysis formulas consistently across the institution's full population of student financial aid applicants.
- Provide services that do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or economic status.
- Recognize the need for professional development and continuing education opportunities.
- Promote the free expression of ideas and opinions, and foster respect for diverse viewpoints within the profession.
- Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof.
- Maintain the highest level of professionalism, reflecting a commitment to the goals of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Task Force on Standards of Excellence, Adopted by Board of Directors, April 1999
The following Code of Conduct was last updated by NASFAA's Board of Directors in March 2014. Subject to enforcement procedures that go 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.
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.
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 publically disclosed. Borrowers will not be auto-assigned to any particular lender. Westfield State University does not have a preferred lender arrangement with any lender.
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.
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 award notifications and/or other institutionally provided materials shall include the following:
A breakdown of individual components of the institution's Cost of Attendance, designating all potential billable charges.
Clear identification of each award, indicating type of aid, i.e. gift aid (grant, scholarship), work, or loan.
Standard terminology and definitions, using NASFAA's glossary of award letter terms.
Renewal requirements for each award.
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.
MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION
CODE OF CONDUCT—STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS
Code of Conduct
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:
- Maintain the highest level of professionalism
- Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof
- Respect the dignity and protect the privacy of students, and ensure the confidentiality of student records and personal circumstances
- Provide information to families for lenders that have proven to provide the best combination of price, access to funds, and service to students and families
Further, institutions shall ensure that all officers, trustees, directors, employees or agents, and financial aid professionals adhere to the following:
- May not accept gifts, meals, travel, or any other non-trivial items from student loan providers in connection with the institution’s loan business
- May not accept, from a lending institution, money, equipment, or printing services or anything of value that may provide or suggest an advantage or grant a preferred status
- If serving as a member of a lending institution’s advisory board, may not accept anything of value in exchange for this service, such as “revenue sharing”
Westfield State University does not have a preferred lender list. Students may borrow from any lender they choose with no preference made by the University. The University utilizes www.ELMSelect.com to provide information to our students. This is not to be construed as an endorsement of those lenders included on ELM Select. Students may borrow from lenders not included on ELM Select.