Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

Under the microscope: Campus card banking

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Following the controversial report from U.S. PIRG, Congress investigates both campus card banking partnerships and financial aid dispersal. Is the future of these products in doubt?

As campuses have embraced electronic distribution of financial aid and banking services tied to student ID cards, a question has emerged. Are students forced to pay more for the convenience? The U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund says ‘yes,’ suggesting that college students have been unfairly targeted for extra fees to the financial benefit of both banks and universities.

But vendors serving the higher education community and many campus administrators vehemently deny these allegations. They argue that campus-focused financial products actually save students money and offer significant benefits.

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A study has revealed a clear need for greater and more differentiated financial literacy education in the K-12 environment.

The “Money Matters On Campus” report, now in its second-year, polled some 65,000 first-year college students across the country. In addition to the need for an early financial understanding, survey results indicate that colleges and universities should provide financial education at the onset of a student’s college experience to better ensure that students will make sound financial decisions later on. The study was conducted by Higher One and education technology specialist EverFi.

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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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Porterville College has partnered with U.S. Bank to launch OneCard, Porterville’s new campus identification card.

Combining the student ID with a prepaid debit MasterCard, OneCard is designed as a solution that can help manage student expenses, while expediting the financial aid disbursement process. According to the Porterville Recorder, the new OneCard program is set to commence this spring.

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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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