These new checking accounts will be another feature in Sallie Mae’s Campus Solution program, which manages $8 billion in financial aid and offers a range of financial options for students. The company has more than 23 million customers around the United States and handles $235 billion in student loans.
The proposed checking accounts from Sallie Mae and Debit MasterCard reflect recent updates to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which said that financial aid disbursements must be available to students within 14 days of approval. As of July 2011, this disbursement period requirement is seven days, meaning that schools now have less time to provide the financial aid money to students. The new accounts will have a direct-deposit option that will smooth the disbursement process.
The announced plan is a welcome option for the many higher-education institutions around the country that are signing on to join to the program. The accounts will ensure that students receive the money they need to pay for their classes, books and other college living expenses. Sallie Mae sees these checking accounts as a way to introduce college students to the responsibility of managing accounts and hopes that students will maintain them beyond their schooling.