Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

PIRG examines what it calls "Campus Debit Card Trap"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has issued a report about banks and their partnerships with college campuses. The title of the report is “The Campus Debit Card Trap: Are Bank Partnerships Fair to Students.”

“Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards,” reads the first lines of the report’s “Summary and Key Findings.”


Another line in the 40-page report states: “PIRG has identified almost 900 card partnerships between colleges and banks or other financial firms at schools with over 9 million students.” That means about 42% of all students nationwide have the opportunity to participate in such a program.

The report goes on to state that “Industry leading banks and financial firms tout that upwards of 70%-80% of students use their cards after a few years of marketing. U.S. PIRG has identified that 32 of the 50 largest public four-year universities, 26 of the largest 50 community colleges, and six of the largest 20 private not-for-profit schools had debit or prepaid card contracts with a bank or a financial firm.”

The complete report in a pdf format can be viewed here[end] 

The Department of Education released an initial draft of proposed changes to the Cash Management portion of the regulation governing title IV financial aid funds. The document includes a series of provisions that would dramatically impact the ways campuses could distribute funds to recipients, so much so, that in essence it would effectively outlaw some common card-based solutions.

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Following the Department of Education’s first draft of proposed regulations on financial aid delivery and campus-issued cards, it is clear that there could be major repercussions should all the demands stand.

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Banking partnerships and financial aid delivery under scrutiny

Zack Martin, Editor, Avisian Publications

In February 2014, the General Accountability Office released a report on debit and prepaid card programs on college campuses, urging the U.S. Congress and Department of Education to take action.

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Regulatory action is being proposed in the campus-banking sector, with the U.S. Department of Education releasing its first draft of regulations on campus debit cards that will effectively prohibit certain fees, constrain marketing practices and institute transparency regarding the college-card provider relationship.

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