Millions of college students were surprised when they received a package from Higher One containing a welcome letter and Mastercard logo bearing card. Also featuring the emblem of the school on the package, the letter urged to students to activate their cards at the earliest.
Before jumping guns and running into conclusions, these are not credit cards by banks waiting to lure the young ones into their trap, but debit cards that allow students access to the college loan funds at any point of the day from any place in the country. These cards made available to students do not come under the CARD Act and hence there is no need for the college to reveal a lot of details about them. However, students who have obtained this card are not very happy with the high fees associated to it, thus leading to a series of protests across various colleges in the country.
The person of the campaign against Higher One at the University of North Dakota, Shane Gilbert, said that this is not the way the financial aid given to students should be dealt with. He said the fees are a way of taking away the money from them, little at a time.
In retaliation, the colleges that have issued these cards to their students stand by the fact that they are really helpful. The authorities said that this makes life easier for not only students, but also administrators and also helps colleges running short of funds to make a little money.
The director for legislative affairs at the National Association of College and University Business Officers, Anne Gross, said that the protests are being initiated by people who are trying to pick faults even in the absence of any.
Students end up taking loans for amounts that exceed their tuition fees so they can cover overhead costs such as living expenses and book purchases. The college authorities have to distribute the excess money obtained on the loan to the students which often results in long queues at the bursar's office formed by students looking forward to their checks.
This entire process can be simplified once Higher One comes into play. The company will set up student accounts into which the difference amount will be deposited and provide them with a card that will serve as a debit card giving them access to the excess money when the need arises.