The Higher Education Opportunity Act conditions the eligibility of educational institutions to participate in Title IV programs on the development of and compliance with a code of conduct prohibiting conflicts of interest for its financial aid personnel [HEOA § 487(a)(25)]. Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s officers, employees and agents are required to comply with this code of conduct. The following specific provisions bring Mitchell Hamline School of Law into compliance with the federal law [HEOA § 487(e)].
A. Ban on Revenue Sharing Arrangements
Neither Mitchell Hamline as an institution nor any individual officer, employee or agent shall enter into any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender.
B. Gift Ban
No officer or employee of Mitchell Hamline 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 a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount.
An officer or employee of Mitchell Hamline 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.
C. Interaction with Borrowers
Mitchell Hamline shall not, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender; or refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
Mitchell Hamline 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 including
- specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under Title IV;
- specified loan volume of such loans; or
- preferred lender arrangement for such loans.
Mitchell Hamline School of Law shall not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or Financial Aid Office staffing.
D. Advisory Board Compensation
Any employee who is employed in the Financial Aid Office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or other student financial aid, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, shall be prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such advisory board, commission, or group.
E. Fraud by a Student
After conducting the review of a FAFSA, any credible information indicating that an applicant for Title IV, HEA program assistance may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with their application. Students will be referred to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education for investigation. The type of information that an institution must refer is that which is relevant to the eligibility of the applicant for Title IV, HEA program assistance, or the amount of the assistance. Examples of this type of information are:
- False claims of independent student status;
- False claims of citizenship;
- Use of false identities;
- Forgery of signatures or certifications; and
- False statements of income;
F. Fraud by the School
The school may be referred to the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Education for investigation of any credible information indicating that any employee, third-party servicer, or other agent of the institution that acts in a capacity that involves the administration of the Title IV, HEA programs, or the receipt of funds under those programs, may have engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, conversion or breach of fiduciary responsibility, or other illegal conduct involving the Title IV, HEA programs.