Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

 Email  Share  Print

Campus Debit Cards

August 15, 2012

 

​Dear Colleague: 

I am writing to make you aware of a letter several higher education associations received July 12 from Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and six other senators expressing interest in working with the higher education community to address concerns raised in a recent report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), The Campus Debit Card Trap.

The PIRG report is highly critical of business arrangements between financial institutions and colleges and universities to produce student IDs that may also function as debit or prepaid cards and be used to disburse financial aid. The report acknowledges that a well-structured debit card program can provide benefits, but it claims these arrangements may also subject students to high fees, which can consume the resources they need for education expenses.

Responding to the report, the senators outline four areas of concern they would like institutions to address:

  • Promote transparency of these partnerships by publically disclosing the contracts with financial institutions to their campus communities;
  • Negotiate the terms of these arrangements so that students are not charged unreasonable and inappropriate fees for actions such as debit swipes, ATM balance inquiries, inactivity and overdrafts;
  • Take steps to ensure that bank fees are not deducted from disbursed federal financial aid; and
  • Structure these partnerships to protect student privacy, in particular, negotiating a ban on the use of student data for commercial purposes unless explicit consent is given.

The senators also indicated they would like campuses to inform them about best practices being employed to protect students from exploitation.

Last week, one of the largest campus debit card providers agreed to refund approximately $11 million to students for fee overcharges and other debit card-related practices. And while there are a number of flaws in the PIRG report, we are taking steps to gain a fuller and more balanced understanding of the use of debit cards on campus. We also are working with other major higher education associations on this issue, including the National Association of College and University Business Officers, which currently is surveying its members about these partnerships in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of the landscape.

We have been in and will continue discussions of these concerns with the senators and other members of Congress.

We believe you share our collective goal of ensuring that all institutions follow fair and sound practices and that your students' interests are protected. We will make you aware of any significant developments on this matter.

Sincerely,   

Molly Corbett Broad
President, ACE

On behalf of:

American Association of Community Colleges
American Association of State Colleges and Universities
American Council on Education
Association of American Universities
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
National Association of College and University Business Officers
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Other ACE News

  • June 24, 2016

    Today's Headlines

    HEADLINES: Today's Top Higher Education News

    The Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin dominates this morning’s higher education news, with The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Associated Press just two of the media outlets covering the ruling. The Chronicle...

  • Law and the Courts

    June 24, 2016

    Gavel

    Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of UT Admissions Policy

    ​​The U.S. Supreme Court on June 23 issued its long-awaited decision in the second hearing of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (UT), voting 4-3 to uphold UT’s diversity in admissions policy.

  • Diversity in Leadership

    June 22, 2016

    Coworkers with computer

    ACE’s Spectrum Aspiring Leaders Program Helps Diversify Leadership Pipeline

    ​Designed to increase diversity among senior leaders in higher education, the October Spectrum Aspiring Leadership Program will combine interactive programming focused on honing leadership skills with networking opportunities and strategic career...

  • Higher Education Act

    June 22, 2016

    U.S. Capitol

    House Committee Approves Five Bills in Move Toward Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act

    ​The House Education and the Workforce Committee has approved five higher education measures focused on improving the financial aid process, enhancing consumer information and strengthening federal programs that support the work of minority-serving...

  • Diversity in Leadership

    June 22, 2016

    ACPS 2016-17

    Take the American College President Study Survey

    The survey is the oldest, most comprehensive and in-depth source of information about the college presidency and the leadership pipeline in higher education. Make sure your institution's president is included.

 

 Related Content