Extra Fees Slam Students ; Universities Shouldn't Be Teaming with Banks to Issue Costly Debit Cards
With the cost of higher education rising so fast that some Americans are being priced out of college, it is unconscionable that some unscrupulous financial firms have found yet another way to empty the pockets of students and their families.
A report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund details how some companies, with the cooperation of colleges, have lured millions of students into taking on even more debt.
And it's being done in a manner promoted as a convenience for students and a cash savings for the institutions of higher education that take advantage of outsourcing certain services. But it's the banks and other financial firms making the big money while driving students and their families further into debt that makes this so bad.
Some 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.
The colleges and universities participating don't have to do the work in-house, and students who grew up with modern conveniences and unaccustomed to old-fashioned methods such as snail mail see no problem using their campus student ID cards as debit cards. Problem is, students end up paying fees all over the place ? per-swipe fees, inactivity fees, overdraft fees and on and on.
And then there are the aggressive marketing strategies aimed at students, and the weaker consumer protections on certain cards that hold student aid funds. A student staring at a card that has the college mascot on it may get the mistaken impression that the college endorses the provider. …