The Office of Financial Aid Services assists students in financing their educational expenses through a variety of federal, state, and institutional loan, grant, scholarship, tuition waiver, and work programs. In administering these programs, our staff works directly with applicants for student aid, with their parents or sponsors, and with secondary school personnel. The student aid delivery system touches, in one way or another, every department at Montana State University. In addition, we work with numerous external organizations such as donors, financial institutions, and state and federal government agencies, or their contractors.
In support of the Mission and Vision Statements of Montana State University, the Office of Financial Aid Services is committed to:
- Offering appropriate financial resources to students in an accurate, equitable and timely manner while complying with federal, state, and institutional regulations and guidelines;
- Educating students and their families about financial aid programs and processes through quality consumer information and services;
- Assisting students in the achievement of their postsecondary educational goals by making every effort to remove financial barriers;
- Utilizing federal, state, and student resources judiciously, respectfully, and in support of our mission.
Code of Conduct
With the passage of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), postsecondary schools that participate in Title IV loan programs are required to have a code of conduct to which the school’s employees shall comply.
Montana State University’s Code of Conduct prohibits conflicts of interest with the responsibilities of employees or agents with respect to educational loans.
Ban of Revenue Sharing Arrangements: MSU shall not enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender, which is any arrangement between a school and a lender where the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits to the school or its employees or agents in exchange for the school recommending the lender to its students.
Gift Ban: Any MSU employee or agent with responsibilities with respect to educational loans or financial aid is prohibited from requesting or receiving gifts from lenders, guarantors or loan servicers. A gift is any item or service having a monetary value of more than a de minimis amount.
Exceptions include the following:
- materials or services related to loan issues, default aversion and prevention, or financial literacy;
- expenses integrally related to training designed to improve service to the school and contribute to professional development;
- favorable loan conditions provided to students employed by the school if the same conditions are provided to all other students at the school;
- entrance and exit counseling services controlled by school staff and that do not promote a specific lender;
- contributions from a lender, guarantor or servicer made to a school that are philanthropic, unrelated to education loans or are not made in exchange for an advantage related to education loans;
- State education grants, scholarships or financial aid administered by or on behalf of the State.
Gifts to Family Members: Gifts to family members and others with relationships to MSU employees and/or agents shall be considered gifts to said employees and/or agents if they know about the gift and believe the gift was based on the position of the employee or agent.
Contracting Arrangements Prohibited: A MSU employee or agent with responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid is prohibited from receiving financial benefit from a lender or lender affiliate as compensation for any consulting or services provided to or for a lender.
Interaction With Borrowers: MSU shall not assign a loan for a first-time borrower to a particular lender or delay or refuse to certify a loan based on the borrower’s choice of lender or guarantor.
Prohibition on Offers of Funds for Private Loans: MSU shall not request or receive an offer of funds from a lender for private education loans including funds for opportunity pool loans to its students in exchange for concessions or promises to the lender regarding the number or volume of Title IV loans made by said lender or a preferred lender status for such loans.
Ban on Staffing Assistance: MSU shall not request or accept assistance from a lender for call center or financial aid office staffing. A school can, however, receive assistance for financial aid training, lender identified educational materials for borrowers, and short-term non-recurring staffing assistance during emergencies.
Advisory Board Compensation: Any MSU employee with responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid who serves on an advisory group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, may only receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses related to serving in the group.