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UT System lays down tighter rules for student funding
By Amit Agarwal
 
The University of Texas System will follow a new code of conduct pertaining to colleges' relationships with student loan providers. The System has asked campus presidents to set up the procedures outlined in the Texas Higher Education Fair Lending Practices Agreement by September 30.

The agreement bans gifts worth more than $20 from lenders, whereas state laws allow gifts up to $50. Financial aid officials will have to do away with expenses-paid trips provided by lenders. They won't be allowed to own stock in student loan companies or accept any gifts from lenders. Under the ethics policy, lenders can no longer pay to print or provide free college financial-aid brochures which may contain their company logos. However, the code allows lenders to donate money to student scholarships. It would allow colleges to maintain preferred lender lists based on objective criteria. The lists, however, would have to be reviewed annually.

The agreement is similar to the one UT-Austin reached in May with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott after investigations revealed that the school's financial aid director, Lawrence Burt, owned stock in a student loan company. The code of conduct will be followed at all 15 UT System campuses, including UT-Arlington and UT-Dallas.

Investigations by UT System officials found that lending practices at other campuses were not as questionable as those found at UT-Austin. At other campuses, lenders had provided college officials with free lunches and paid for their travel expenses to attend advisory board meetings, in addition to other benefits. Financial aid officials at UT-Arlington and UT-Dallas have reportedly received meals, margaritas, and game tickets, along with other gifts. However, college officials contend that such practices have stopped.

College financial aid offices across the country have come under fire since New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo started his investigation of the $85 billion student loan industry.




 


Article Title : UT System lays down tighter rules for student funding
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