MILWAUKEE ― Members of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today reviewed and approved a proposed new code of conduct regarding the university’s relationships with private lenders. The proposed policy responds to a call by UW System President Kevin P. Reilly to inventory campus ties to banks and other private companies that provide student loans.
The Board’s Business, Finance and Audit Committee approved the new policy, sending it on to the full Board for final action tomorrow.
“Our students, their parents and the citizens of Wisconsin need to know that their public university is acting promptly and decisively to address concerns that have arisen regarding financial aid operations at American colleges and universities,” President Reilly said. “Our main goal is to preserve trust in our university. Implementing this new policy will hopefully do just that.”
Among other provisions, the Policy on Relationships with Educational Loan Lenders will prohibit UW System institutions and employees from soliciting, accepting or entering into any agreement where a private lender would provide revenues or materials back to the campus. It would further prohibit the use of call centers staffed by lenders’ employees. The proposed policy also offers guidance to the university’s financial aid staff on how to comply fully with applicable state and federal laws and regulations about relationships with private lenders.
“This university and our Board is committed to operating with the greatest transparency possible,” said UW System Board of Regents President David G. Walsh. “These new rules are consistent with that goal, and designed to enhance our service to students.”
The new policy is designed to dovetail with existing state codes of ethics for unclassified and classified UW staff, providing clearer guidance regarding participation on advisory councils of educational lenders and attending training conferences sponsored by those companies.