Students walking through Penland Courtyard

Code of Conduct

Financial Aid

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) considers every aspect of the administration of student financial aid to be a vital part of either its compliant administrative responsibilities or service to students and their families, if not both.

While written specifically for the administration of financial aid within the Office of Student Financial Aid, the University of South Carolina Aiken recognizes that this code applies to all of its administration, faculty, staff, and affiliated organizations. Furthermore, the university agrees to guard against any relationship that could be construed to reflect misconduct with regard the administration of any financial aid by the university.

In conducting the responsibilities mandated by statute, regulation, and/or other directive as well as those associated with quality service delivery, the OSFA adheres to the following guiding principles:

Employee Ethics

No action will be taken by any member of the OSFA staff that is for their personal benefit or that could be perceived to be a conflict of interest. Staff will disclose to the appropriate office leadership and/or to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management any involvement, interest in, or potential conflict of interest with any entity with which the University has a business relationship.

Employees with the OSFA will not award aid to themselves or their immediate family members. The oversight of this awarding and related activities will be assigned to a designated OSFA staff member by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.

Code of Conduct for Student Loans

Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, all Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans as well as Parent and Graduate PLUS Loans are being made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. As a result of this requirement, all relationships and related potential issues with lenders that could be related to the administration of these programs under the Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program have ceased.

The OSFA will continue to process private educational loans through any lender requested by the borrower without any prejudice. When appropriate, and in what is believed to be the borrower's best interest, timely communication will be initiated to help ensure that the borrower is aware of any perceived, potential issues that might arise from his or her lender selection; however, the borrower's lender choice will always be honored.

The OSFA will continue to maintain a professional relationship with all lenders of private educational loans with whom it has worked during recent years. In an effort to assist in the selection of a lender, a listing of all lenders from whom USCA students have borrowed private educational loans in the past five years will be made available. Students wishing to borrow a private educational loan may select from this list of lenders who, to the best of OSFA knowledge, are currently active lenders, or they may select another lender of their choice. The OSFA will not offer any endorsement or provide any specific information about these lenders; however, it encourages students and parents to learn all they can about any lender and loan product they are considering. The provided lender list presents links through which a great deal of information should be available. The OSFA staff will continue to respond to specific questions about any lenders listed to the extent of their knowledge. It is generally best for a borrower to continue with the same lender for all private educational loan borrowing.

While the staff of the OSFA fully appreciates the value of working in consort with lenders to improve the quality of their goods and services, no individual members of the OSFA will accept anything of value, including reimbursement for associated travel, for participation on lender advisory or governing boards.

The OSFA will not request or accept any staffing services from employees of a lender. Should there be any casual conversation between an on-campus visiting lender and a student, OSFAS will ensure that the lender’s employee does nothing to misrepresent him or herself to a student in a way that might be construed as being a representative of the University. Furthermore, the OSFA will never participate in the branding of private loans with the school’s name.

Accuracy and Accessibility

Information provided by the OSFA staff will be accurate, unbiased, and not reflect any preference.

Institutional award notifications and supporting documents will provide clear and thorough disclosures of all information pertinent to the recipient’s understanding of the factors related to his or her annual financial aid award.

The OSFA will ensure or encourage that all required consumer information is displayed in an easily accessible location of the institution’s website and that any printed materials are identifiable and distributed as appropriate.