Today's report by the General Accounting Office, entitled "College Debit Cards: Actions Needed to Address ATM Access, Student Choice, and Transparency, (http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-91) " says it all in the title. The survey of 800 campuses found that millions of students each year are pushed into bank-backed campus debit card accounts to receive their financial aid, only to pay hefty fees to get at those dollars. The accounts confuse students which can cause them to pay more. The report finds that "two large providers charged a fee for card purchases using a personal identification number (PIN) rather than a signature--a fee mainstream debit cards typically do not charge."
The report also confirms that financial firms give campuses a share in the profits that these cards generate off the backs of the lowest-income students at the school. If this isn't a campus rip-off that calls for swift and decisive action to safeguard students, then I don't know what is.
Another agency, the
Next week, the
As a negotiator, I will press for the strongest possible measures to block the aggressive marketing tactics that push student financial aid recipients into these accounts and to ban the junk fees that are hard to avoid. We've heard from too many students, at too many campuses, for too long that these debit cards are not fair.
It's time to put students first before fees within the federal student aid system.
TNS 24HariRad-140214-30FurigayJane-4637794 30FurigayJane
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