Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

Higher One agrees with NACUBO student debit card guidelines

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Higher One has affirmed its alignment with new guidelines for colleges and universities regarding debit card options for students. The National Association of College and University Business Officers issued in August guidelines that it developed following a survey of its member institutions.

The guidelines, entitled “Safeguarding Student Finances: Guidance for Campuses Offering Student Debit Card Options,” are designed to include best practices such as:


  • Encouraging students to use financial institutions, since those with bank accounts can typically better manage their money, do not have to carry large amounts of cash, and can benefit from the convenience of debit cards and transaction records.

  • Offering students the right to choose their banking relationships.

  • Encouraging electronic refunds because electronic transactions are faster, safer, less expensive and more convenient.

  • Complying with the U.S. Department of Education’s regulatory and administrative requirements for the Title IV federal student aid programs.

  • Negotiating low or no fee options and services for students.

  • Publishing clear and transparent fee schedules and agreeing to a communication plan to ensure students are presented with a fair explanation of services.

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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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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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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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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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