The Office of Financial Aid at Methodist University is dedicated to serving students and their families with the highest standards of professional conduct. It is our goal to provide information and advice, in keeping with federal requirements, and determined solely by consideration of the best interests of our students and their families. To ensure students and their families continue receiving sound and impartial advice from the Office of Financial Aid personnel, and to avoid the potential for, or appearance of, conflicts of interest regarding student loans, grants and scholarships, the staff in the Office of Financial Aid at Methodist University, shall abide by the Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct set forth by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of aspects of a student’s educational record that are not considered ‘directory’ information. Educational records include financial aid and student account records which are considered confidential and will not be released without written consent from the student, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. For this reason, it is necessary for the Office of Financial Aid at Methodist University to obtain permission from a student in order to release financial information not excluded by FERPA laws.
The Office of Financial Aid does not provide copies of application documents to anyone other than the signatory of the requested document. If you want copies of your parents’ application documents, you must ask your parents to send written release to the Office of Financial Aid, specifying which of their documents can be released to you. Similarly, if your parents request copies of your documents that contain your information, you must first sign a written release. Your parents’ financial information cannot be discussed with you unless they have provided us with written authorization.
Please realize that if you accept a scholarship from Methodist University we may share the student’s name, major and hometown with the donor of the scholarship. We will not share financial information or other personal information with the donor. In some instances, we will ask scholarship recipients to write thank you notes to the donor that made the scholarship possible.
NASFAA Statement of Ethical Principles
NASFAA’s Statement of Ethical Principles 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 post-secondary 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.
Financial Aid Code of Conduct
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 Code of Conduct is as follows:
- Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
- Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
- Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
- Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
- Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U. S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
- Disclose to his or her institution in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
Identification of Conflict of Interest
Identifying conflict of interest is not a simple task. A University employee has a conflict of interest if his or her judgment and discretion in research or in other matters affecting the University is or may be influenced by considerations either of personal gain or financial benefit.
The following is a partial list of activities or actions that merit case-by-case examination to determine whether they create a material conflict of interest that should either be managed appropriately or eliminated.
- Consulting activities.
- The purchase of goods or services for the University from businesses in which the employee, or his or her family, has a financial interest, or as a result of such purchase, may directly benefit.
- Receipt of gifts, gratuities, loans, or special favors (including trips or speaker’s fees) from research sponsors or vendors.
- Holding of an ownership interest by the employee or the employee’s family in any real or personal property leased or purchased by the University.
- Holding of an equity, royalty, or debt instrument interest by the employee or the employee’s family in an entity providing to the University financial support, including research or other support or services, when such support will benefit the employee or persons supervised, directly or indirectly, by the employee.
- Receipt, directly to the employee from non-University sources, of cash, services, or equipment provided in support of the employee’s University activities.
- Some memberships on board of directors, committees, advisory groups (or similar bodies) of governmental, for-profit or not-for-profit entity.
- Use of information received as a University employee for personal purposes.