PSU Policies

Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress
Undergraduate Satisfactory Academic Progress

In accordance with requirements of the Higher Education Act (34 CFR 668.34), Plymouth State University has established certain standards for evaluating the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) of Title IV Financial Aid recipients. The Satisfactory Academic Progress policies and procedures are reviewed when changes at the federal or institutional level require us to do so to ensure compliance with federal regulations. This policy also extends to state and institutional aid programs (grant, loan, and work study).

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the measurement of a student’s academic progress towards the completion of their degree. The measurement evaluates three components to determine eligibility for financial aid. The review of a student’s SAP status is based on his or her entire academic record, even if he/she did not receive financial aid for previous semesters of enrollment. In order to be eligible for financial aid, undergraduate students must satisfy all three of the following components:

  1. All degree candidates must maintain academic standing consistent with PSU’s graduation requirements regarding grade point average [GPA] by maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Audited coursework is not included in the GPA calculation.
  1. The completion rate is calculated by dividing total earned credits by total attempted credits. A student’s completion rate must stay above the required sixty-seven percent (67%) to be considered satisfactory for this component. Attempted credits include successfully completed courses, courses with non-passing grades, incomplete courses, withdrawn courses, transfer credits and repeated courses. Earned credits include successfully completed courses and transfer credits. Audited coursework is not included in this calculation.
  1. Maximum time frame of 150% of defined academic length for bachelor’s degree programs. The maximum time frame is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150 percent. Example: Published program length of 120 credits X 150% = 180 credits maximum time frame allowed to complete degree requirements. Implication: A student has attempted (not necessarily earned) 180 credits and has now exhausted his/her eligibility for financial aid.

Note, to graduate in four years (eight semesters), bachelor’s degree students must complete an average of 15 to 15.5 credit hours per semester for eight semesters.

Evaluations and Notifications

 The PSU Financial Aid Team evaluates SAP annually at the end of each spring term for undergraduate students, or upon re-enrollment into the university. SAP is also reviewed at the end of each probationary period as applicable. Students must be making SAP to continue to receive financial aid in a subsequent payment period, including the summer and early spring terms. Financial aid applicants not meeting SAP standards will be deemed ineligible to receive financial aid and will be sent notification to their campus email account.

Financial Aid Termination

INELIGIBLE satisfactory academic progress status will result in the loss of all federal, state, and PSU aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study employment, until the student has met required guidelines and returns to an ELIGIBLE status.

Appeal Process

Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements for continuance of financial aid have the right to appeal when special circumstances exist. Conditions when a student may appeal include:

  • If you or an immediate family member experiences a serious injury, illness or mental health condition, please attach a statement from your physician or mental health professional, reflecting date(s) of occurrence/treatment.
  • If you experienced the death of immediate family member, please attach a copy of the death certificate, paper obituary/link to online obituary, or statement from physician.
  • If you experienced other circumstances beyond your control, please attach documentation that supports the situation.

Students will receive communication from the PSU Financial Aid Team regarding their INELIGIBLE status and will be advised of the requirements needed to file an appeal. If an ineligible student does not appeal, reinstatement for financial aid consideration will only occur once the student meets all of the SAP requirements. In addition, students must submit all requested documentation.

Approved Appeals/Financial Aid Probation

If an appeal is approved, financial aid will be reinstated for the following term and the student will be placed on PROBATIONARY status for that term. The student will be required to successfully complete (with passing grades) all courses attempted for that term.  Successful completion of all classes (with passing grades) will allow a student to return to an ELIGIBLE status for financial aid. Failure to meet these requirements will automatically place a student back to INELIGIBLE status.

Denied Appeals

Students whose appeals are denied are ineligible for financial aid.  The student may enroll in coursework but will be responsible for payment in full of all incurred costs. Written denial notification will be sent to the student’s campus email account. Students may wish to explore private/alternative education loan; however, please note that some private loan lenders require SAP for participation in their loan program. Be sure you are selecting a lender that does not require SAP (SAP denied students are not eligible to receive a PLUS loan).

Re-Establishing Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may regain financial aid eligibility by successfully meeting the University’s SAP policy requirements or successfully meeting the requirements of the established academic plan.  Students must notify the office in writing of their intent to use financial aid again.

Repeat Coursework Policy for Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Repeat Course Work Policy

Federal financial aid allows a student to repeat and receive federal financial aid ONE-TIME when repeating an initially passed course.  It also allows students to use federal financial aid to repeat previously failed courses until a passing grade is received.  All credit hours attempted will be counted in Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations. The repeated course will also count as part of a student’s enrollment status for the payment period they are repeating. Only classes which will count toward meeting degree requirements are eligible for financial aid.

Repeating a FAILED Course:

Federal guidance allows students to use Federal aid to repeat previously failed coursework; however, the credit hours of any failed course will be counted in Satisfactory Academic Progress (Graduate) calculations. The repeated course will also count as part of a student’s enrollment status for the payment period they are repeating.

Repeating a PASSED Course

If a matriculated student is repeating a previously PASSED course, federal guidance allows student to repeat and receive aid ONE-TIME. All hours of any courses attempted will count in all Satisfactory Academic Progress calculations.  Students are encouraged to contact not only their academic advisor regarding PSU academic consequences but also a member of the Financial Aid Team if they are planning to repeat any coursework.  They will want to be sure they understand how retaking courses will be treated by PSU academics as well as financial aid as required by federally mandated Satisfactory Academic Progress policies.

Undergraduate Enrollment Census Date (commonly referred to as R+30*)
Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

If you’re receiving financial aid grants or loans, you must attend your classes. Don’t drop or stop attending any class without consulting the Financial Aid Team. Changes in your enrollment level and failing grades may require you to repay federal financial aid funds.

Federal regulations require you to repay a portion of financial aid funds if you withdraw from all classes before satisfying the 60 percent completion rule for the enrollment term.

PSU Undergraduate fall and spring semesters indicating when a student has earned 60 percent of their financial aid:
•Fall 2018: October 29, 2018
•Spring 2019: April 1, 2019

It is important to recognize that there are potentially two forms of financial aid that may be refunded if a student withdraws: federal and institutional funds. If the university requires the student to withdraw, there will be no refund. For more information on PSU’s Refund Policy, please contact Student Account Services.

Click on Withdrawal Policy for additional information.

Leave of Absence
Students may request a leave of absence from studies for one or two consecutive semesters’ absence from Plymouth State University (this policy applies only to continuous fall and spring semesters; winter and summer sessions are not considered to be a part of a student’s regular continuous enrollment). A leave of absence is appropriate if the student intends to return to the University following a temporary absence for compelling reasons, which may include but are not limited to: military service, family emergencies, or medical reasons.

Prior to leaving, students must inform the academic student advocate of their intention to take a leave of absence from the University; A PSU Leave of Absence form must be completed and returned to the academic student advocate, located in Frost House.

Eligible students who apply for and receive a leave of absence retains their PSU email account, access to myPlymouth, and the ability to register online.  No readmission application or fees are required if the student re-enrolls for a fall or spring semester immediately following the leave of absence.  If there is no intent to return to the University, or if a student is unable to return following the leave of absence period, the regular withdrawal procedure should be followed.

Financial Aid Implications: If a student currently receives financial aid, their financial aid award will be reevaluated as a result of the leave.  If the date of the leave precedes the start of classes, the financial aid will simply be cancelled.  If the date of the leave is after the start of classes, the financial aid award will be adjusted according to federal regulations and institutional policies.   The decision to take a leave of absence will not affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid upon his or her approved return as an active student.  However, students must adhere to all published deadlines in applying for financial aid before returning.

Repayment on your loans begins after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment.  Generally you have a grace period before you have to begin repayment.  The grace period is a determinate length of time when no payments are due.  You can start repaying during the grace period and save some money in the long run.

  • Federal Perkins Loans – the grace period is nine months.
  • Federal Direct Loans – the grace period is six months
  • Federal PLUS Loans – repayment begins 30 to 45 days after the final loan disbursement.

NOTE:  You are responsible for beginning repayment on-time, even if you do not receive information from your lender or servicer.

Eligibility for a Leave of Absence

  • The student must be matriculated during the semester in which the leave of absence is requested.
  • The student must be in good academic standing.
  • The student must not be subject to university initiated disciplinary action.
  • The student must have no restrictions/holds on their registration.
  • The student must provide documentation to support the leave of absence request.

Additional Conditions for a Leave of Absence

  • Students have the right to request a leave of absence more than once, but may not exceed a total of two years for all approved requests.
  • Students have the right to return earlier than the initially agreed upon return date.
  • Students who do not return to Plymouth State University at the end of the leave of absence period will be withdrawn from the University and must follow all procedures for readmission if, in the future, they seek to re-enroll as a matriculated student.
  • Students are not eligible to receive financial aid payments from the University during the leave of absence period.
  • Plymouth State University will report any student granted a leave of absence as “approved leave of absence” in response to inquiries for enrollment verifications.
  • Students may not live in on-campus residential facilities, attend classes, or seek/maintain university sponsored employment during a leave of absence. Students may not enroll in winterim or summer sessions if those alternative sessions fall within the time period of the requested leave of absence.
  • Students are responsible for understanding all implications of a leave of absence, including but not limited to the following:
  • Potential loss of financial aid
  • Potential loss of health coverage

Steps for Returning from a Leave of Absence
A student returning from a leave of absence reactivates their matriculation by contacting the Registrar’ Office.

Student Rights and Responsibilities
Our Pledge to You:

  •  We hold you in our highest regard and will treat you with respect, sensitivity, and honesty.
  •  We will greet you with a smile.
  •  We will keep all your financial information in the strictest of confidence.
  •  We will do all we can to help you within the legal limits of PSU, state, and federal regulations.
  •  When you call us on the telephone, we will greet you with our names and a smile in our voice.
  •  If at any time you are dissatisfied with our service, please ask to speak with a supervisor.

As a student you have the right to:

  • know what financial assistance is available to you, including all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
  • know the deadlines for submitting applications for applicable financial aid programs and the process required.
  • know how your financial need is determined, including how cost of attendance budgets are developed.
  • know what resources are considered in the calculation of your financial need, and how much of your need as determined by Plymouth State University has been met.
  • an explanation of the types of aid contained in your financial aid award as well as how to retain eligibility for those funds (if applicable).
  • request a review of your current financial situation if you meet certain criteria based on changes since filing the current aid year FAFSA application.
  • know what portion of your aid package is grant or gift aid, and what portion must be repaid. In addition, you have the right to know interest rates, total amount to be repaid, procedures for repayment, when repayment begins, and how long you have to repay the loan.
  • know the criteria for continued financial aid eligibility, including guidelines for the determination of Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by the Department of Education.
  • know the method and frequency of financial aid disbursements.

Your responsibility:

  • advise  Student Account Services  (formerly the Bursars Office) of all non-PSU scholarships received.  These are awards which were not part of your original PSU financial aid package but have since been awarded to you.  Please click here for forms and instructions on how to report these scholarships.
  • fill out the FAFSA application completely and accurately. If selected for verification you will provide all requested documents in a timely manner, and ensure that all submitted materials are complete and accurate. Falsification of information on application forms for federal financial assistance is considered a criminal offense, and you may be subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
  • read and understand all forms that you are asked to submit or sign, realizing that you are legally responsible for all agreements that you sign.
  • advise us if you plan to graduate mid-year. Aid awards are based on each term a student normally would enroll during the academic year.
  • be advised that outside scholarships may, or may not, affect your current financial aid award. PSU’s policy for treatment of outside scholarships is that they will first be used to meet “unmet” need, then any adjustments will be made in the following order:
    a. adjustment to Federal College Work-Study eligibility,
    b. adjustment to Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans, and finally,
    c. adjustment to any need-based institutional grants
  • know and comply with all policies and procedures of Plymouth State University.

As a condition for receiving federal financial aid funds, you must notify us in writing of any of the situations or conditions listed above. Changes in your aid may be required due to these conditions. Failure to report these conditions may result in cancellation of aid.

Student Loan Code of Conduct

Student Loan Code of Conduct

Date of Current Revision: October 2017
Primary Responsible Officer: Financial Aid Director

  1. PURPOSE

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) that must be executed by all institutions participating in Title IV financial aid programs including student loan programs requires a code of conduct with which the institution’s officers, employees, and agents shall comply. Such code must prohibit a conflict of interest with the responsibilities of an officer, employee, or agent of an institution with respect to such loans, and include the provisions set forth in the HEOA related to conflicts.

  1. AUTHORITY

This policy is required by and complies with provisions from the HEOA, specifically Section 493 as its Code of Conduct Related to Student Loan Activities. Plymouth State University (PSU), as a participant in federal loan programs, is required to have a code of conduct applicable to the institution’s officers, employees, and agents. While the university has existing policies that address conflicts of interest, the code of conduct established by this policy is specifically related to student loan activities and is an additional requirement specific to certain transactions and activities related to financial aid matters.

  1. DEFINITIONS

Agent:  An officer or employee of a covered institution or institution-affiliated organization.

Conflict of Interest:  A conflict of interest occurs when a university employee or officer, or a member of his or her immediate family has a personal interest, or benefits or suffers from his or her participation in a contract or transaction considered by PSU.

Covered Institution:  Any institution of higher education, as that term is defined in section 102 of the HEA, which receives any Federal funding or assistance.

Employee:  Full-and part-time faculty; classified employees, administrative staff; and students who are paid for specific work by the university. Students may be employees for some purposes and not for others. If they are paid as student assistants, for example, or given grants to do specific research, they will be employees. Students receiving general scholarship or stipend funds would not normally be considered employees.

Gift:  Any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount. The term includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging, or meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.

Higher Education Opportunity Act:   Public Law 110-315 (HEOA) was enacted on August 14, 2008, and reauthorizes the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (the HEA). The HEOA makes a number of changes to programs authorized under the HEA, authorizes new programs, and makes changes to other laws.

Officer:  A director or trustee of a covered institution or institution-affiliated organization, if the director or trustee is treated as an employee of the institution or organization.

Institution-Affiliated Organization:  Any organization that is directly or indirectly related to a covered institution, and is engaged in the practice of recommending, promoting, or endorsing education loans for students attending such covered institution or the families of such students. Such an organization may include an alumni organization, athletic organization, foundation, or social, academic, or professional organization of a covered institution.

Lender:  An eligible lender in the FFEL Program, the Department for the purpose of the Direct Loan Program, and a private educational lender as defined in section 140 of the TILA for purposes of private educational loans.

Preferred Lender Arrangement:  An arrangement or agreement between a lender and a covered institution, or an institution-affiliated organization of such covered institution, (1) under which the lender provides or otherwise issues education loans to students attending such covered institution or the families of such students and (2) involves the covered institution or institution-affiliated organization recommending, promoting, or endorsing the lender’s education loan products. Such an arrangement does not include an institution participating in the Direct Loan Program or arrangements or agreements under the PLUS auction pilot program (see Title IV-Student Assistance, Title IV Programs-General, and Competitive Loan Auction Pilot Program for Federal FFEL Parent PLUS Parent Loans).

Private Education Loan:  Has the meaning given the term in section 140 of the Truth in Lending Act and means a loan provided by a private educational lender that is not a Title IV loan, is issued expressly for the postsecondary educational expenses of the borrower regardless of whether the loan is provided through the educational institution that the subject student attends or directly to the borrower from the private educational lender, and does not include an extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, a reverse mortgage transaction, a residential mortgage transaction, or any other loan that is secured by real property or a dwelling.

Revenue Sharing Arrangement:  An arrangement between an institution and a lender under which –

  • a lender provides or issues a loan that is made, insured, or guaranteed under this title to students attending the institution or to the families of such students; and
  • the institution recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to the institution, an officer or employee of the institution, or an agent.

Student Loan:   Any Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), Direct Loan, or private education loan.

  1. APPLICABILITY

Plymouth State University, as a participant in federal loan programs, is required to have a code of conduct applicable to the institution’s officers, employees, and agents.

  1. POLICY

5.1 Ban on Revenue Sharing Arrangements

The university will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.

5.2 Gift Ban

No officer or employee of the institution who is employed in the financial aid office of the institution or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, shall solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans.

5.3 Contracting Arrangements Prohibited

An officer or employee 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.

  1. PROCEDURES

Gifts for Family Members

A gift to a family member of an officer or employee of an institution, to a family member of an agent, or to any other individual based on that individual’s relationship with the officer, employee, or agent, shall be considered a gift to the officer, employee, or agent if-

  • the gift is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the officer, employee, or agent; and
  • the officer, employee, or agent has reason to believe the gift was given because of the official position of the officer, employee, or agent.
  1. RESPONSIBILITIES

The Financial Aid Director is responsible for the management of this policy, including meeting all requirements of the HEOA related to publication of the code and annual disclosures and annual distribution of the Code of Conduct to all university officers, employees and agents with responsibilities related to student loan activities.

  1. SANCTIONS

Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment or expulsion from the university.

Further and specifically, violations of university policies, including the failure to avoid a prohibited activity or disclose a conflict of interest in timely manner, will be dealt with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the university.

  1. EXCLUSIONS

The term ‘gift’ shall not include any of the following:

  • Standard material, activities, or programs on issues related to a loan, default aversion, default prevention, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, a workshop, or training.
  • Food, refreshments, training, or informational material furnished to an officer or employee of an institution, or to an agent, as an integral part of a training session that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans to the institution, if such training contributes to the professional development of the officer, employee, or agent.
  • Favorable terms, conditions, and borrower benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the institution if such terms, conditions, or benefits are comparable to those provided to all students of the institution.
  • Entrance and exit counseling services provided to borrowers to meet the institution’s responsibilities for entrance and exit counseling as required by subsections (b) and (l) of section 485, as long as-

◦the institution’s staff are in control of the counseling, (whether in person or via electronic capabilities); and

◦such counseling does not promote the products or services of any specific lender.

  • Philanthropic contributions to an institution from a lender, servicer, or guarantor of education loans that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution from any lender, guarantor, or servicer that is not made in exchange for any advantage related to education loans.
  • State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State.

Exclusions/exceptions regarding officers and employee. This policy does not prohibit:

  • an officer or employee of an institution who is not employed in the institution’s financial aid office and who does not otherwise have responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who does not have responsibilities with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans;
  • an officer or employee of the institution who is not employed in the institution’s financial aid office but who has responsibility with respect to education loans as a result of a position held at the institution, or an agent who has responsibility with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans, if the institution has a written conflict of interest policy that clearly sets forth that officers, employees, or agents must recuse themselves from participating in any decision of the board regarding education loans at the institution; or
  • an officer, employee, or contractor of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans from serving on a board of directors, or serving as a trustee, of an institution, if the institution has a written conflict of interest policy that the board member or trustee must recuse themselves from any decision regarding education loans at the institution.
Code of Conduct
The staff of the Plymouth State University Financial Aid Team adheres to the professional standards of conduct set forth by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). This is particularly crucial in our commitment to ensure transparency in our administration of all student financial aid programs and to avoid any conflicts of interest.

NASFAA has published the following Code of Conduct to guide all financial aid professionals in their work. The complete text of the NASFAA statement is available in PDF format. If you have questions, please contact the Financial Aid Team.

Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals

An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity.

The PSU Financial Aid Team adheres to the following Code of Conduct as developed by our national association (NASFAA.org):

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 award notifications and/or other institutionally provided materials shall include the following:

  1. A breakdown of individual components of the institution’s Cost of Attendance, designating all potential billable charges.
  2. Clear identification of each award, indicating type of aid, i.e. gift aid (grant, scholarship), work, or loan.
  3. Standard terminology and definitions.
  4. 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.

Code of Conduct regarding Lenders

Policy Statement
Plymouth State University, as a participant in federal loan programs, is required to have a code of conduct applicable to the institution’s officers, employees, and agents. The code of conduct requirements are set forth in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) signed into law on August 14, 2008. The Code of Conduct Related to Student Loan Activities is a requirement specific to certain transactions and activities related to financial aid matters. In addition, the law includes requirements related to publication of the code and annual disclosures.

Reason for Policy
The HEOA program participation agreement, which must be executed by all institutions participating in Title IV financial aid programs including student loan programs, requires a code of conduct with which the institution’s officers, employees, and agents shall comply. Such code must prohibit a conflict of interest with the responsibilities of an officer, employee, or agent of an institution with respect to such loans, and include the provisions set forth in the HEOA related to conflicts. The law further specifies that the code shall be displayed prominently on the institution’s website and that all institutional officers, employees and agents with responsibilities related to such loans be annually informed of the provisions of the code of conduct.

Plymouth State University hereby adopts the following provisions from the HEOA, Section 493 as its Code of Conduct Related to Student Loan Activities and will annually inform all institutional officers, employees, and agents with responsibilities for student loan activities and decisions of the provisions of this code. Note that where language in the law references financial aid office, it has been replaced with Plymouth State University Financial Aid Team.

(1) BAN ON REVENUE-SHARING ARRANGEMENTS

(A) Prohibition — The institution shall not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
(B) Definition — For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘revenue-sharing arrangement’ means an arrangement between an institution and a lender under which —

  • a lender provides or issues a loan that is made, insured, or guaranteed under this title to students attending the institution or to the families of such students; and
  •  the institution recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to the institution, an officer or employee of the institution, or an agent.

(2) GIFT BAN

(A) Prohibition — No officer or employee of the institution who is employed in the Plymouth State University Financial Aid Team office, or an individual who has been assigned by the Plymouth State University President with supervisory authority over the Director of Financial Aid or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, shall solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans.

(B) DEFINITION OF GIFT

  • In General — In this paragraph, the term ‘gift’ means any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, stock, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount ($25 per year). The term includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging, or meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, computer hardware, printing costs or services for which the recipient pays below-market value, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.
  • Exceptions — The term ‘gift’ shall not include any of the following:

(I) Standard material, activities, or programs on issues related to a loan, default aversion, default prevention, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, a workshop, or training.

(II) Food, refreshments, training, or informational material furnished to an officer or employee of an institution, or to an agent, as an integral part of a training session that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans to the institution, if such training contributes to the professional development of the officer, employee, or agent.

(III) Favorable terms, conditions, and borrower benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the institution if such terms, conditions, or benefits are comparable to those provided to all students of the institution.

(IV) Entrance and exit counseling services provided to borrowers to meet the institution’s responsibilities for entrance and exit counseling as required by subsections (b) and (l) of section 485, as long as —

(aa) the institution’s staff are in control of the counseling, (whether in person or via electronic capabilities); and

(bb) such counseling does not promote the products or services of any specific lender.

(V) Philanthropic contributions to an institution from a lender, servicer, or guarantor of education loans that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution from any lender, guarantor, or servicer that is not made in exchange for any advantage related to education loans.

(VI) State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State

  • Rule for Gifts for Family Members — For purposes of this paragraph, a gift to a family member of an officer or employee of an institution, to a family member of an agent, or to any other individual based on that individual’s relationship with the officer, employee, or agent, shall be considered a gift to the officer, employee, or agent if —

(I) the gift is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the officer, employee, or agent; and

(II) the officer, employee, or agent has reason to believe the gift was given because of the official position of the officer, employee, or agent.

(3) CONTRACTING ARRANGEMENTS PROHIBITED

(A) Prohibition — An officer or employee who is employed in the Plymouth State University 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.

(B) Exceptions — Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting —

  • an officer or employee of an institution who is not employed in the institution’s Plymouth State University Financial Aid office and who does not otherwise have responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who does not have responsibilities with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans;
  • an officer or employee of the institution who is not employed in the Plymouth State University Financial Aid office but who has responsibility with respect to education loans as a result of a position held at the institution, or an agent who has responsibility with respect to education loans, from performing paid or unpaid service on a board of directors of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans, if the institution has a written conflict of interest policy that clearly sets forth that officers, employees, or agents must excuse themselves from participating in any decision of the board regarding education loans at the institution; or
  • an officer, employee, or contractor of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans from serving on a board of directors, or serving as a trustee, of an institution, if the institution has an interest policy that the board member or trustee must excuse themselves from any education loans at the institution.

Sanctions

Violations of university policies, including the failure to avoid a prohibited activity or disclose a conflict of interest in timely manner, will be dealt with in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination from the institution.

Policies posted and updated October 2013

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