UCM Reaffirms Fair Student Loan Practices
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG - 06/22/2007- While sporting one of the lowest student-debt ratios in the state, the University of Central Missouri has reaffirmed its continued commitment to reducing financial barriers to students by signing a statement of ethics pertaining to student loan practices.
Statement of Ethics Reaffirms UCM's Practices
In the statement sent to the office of Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon, UCM President Aaron Podolefsky reaffirms the institution's position against providing a list of preferred or recommended lenders to students seeking financial assistance and participating in revenue sharing practices between lending institutions and the university. Conduct measures contrary to what the university is doing came under fire recently at some other institutions across the U.S.
According to a press release issued by Nixon's office, Attorneys General across the nation have been looking into this matter after alleged unethical relationships were discovered in New York between some colleges and universities and private lending agencies that provide loan money to student and parent borrowers. UCM was one of 11 Missouri institutions of higher education, both public and private, that provided code of conduct statements governing their relationships with student loan lending institutions.
Federal Direct Lending Institution
UCM is a federal direct lending institution. It does not use any private banks, credit unions, or other lenders in the processing of federal Stafford (student) and PLUS (parent) loans, said Phil Shreves, director of student financial assistance.
Although there was no concern about any of UCM's current practices, Nixon expressed concern that students may be steered by some universities to "preferred lenders" without the students and their families receiving information about how those lists were compiled. He was also concerned about possible revenue sharing arrangement that reward institutions of higher education that put lenders on such lists; gifts given by lenders to institutions of higher education or their employees; school employees' participation on lender advisory boards in exchange for compensation or reimbursement of any expense.
No Changes in Student Lending Practices at UCM
"Our current financial aid practices are serving the university and its students well, and it won't be necessary to make any changes as the result of signing this agreement," said UCM President Aaron Podolefsky. "We're glad we're on the right track."
The president pointed out that the university continues to be ranked by organizations such as The Princeton Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education as a Missouri leader when it comes to low student-debt ratio.