Deals with banks stack millions in fees on college students

U.S. student debt tops $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It took Mario Parker-Milligan less than a semester to decide that he was paying too many fees to Higher One, the company hired by his college to pay out students’ financial aid on debit cards.

Four years after he opted out, his classmates still face more than a dozen fees — for replacement cards, for using the cards as all-purpose debit cards, for using an ATM other than the two on-campus kiosks owned by Higher One.

“They sold it as a faster, cheaper way for the college to get students their money,” said Parker-Milligan, 23, student body president at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore. “It may be cheaper for the college, but it’s not cheaper for the students.”…Read More

Blackboard unveils system for disbursing student aid

Students will be able to use Blackboard Pay cards to withdraw from ATMs.
Students will be able to use Blackboard Pay cards to withdraw from ATMs.

Some college students will be able to use their allotted financial aid by swiping a debit card instead of waiting for paper checks to come to their dorm rooms or houses after Blackboard Inc. this week launched a student payroll system.

Officials from Blackboard, the largest provider of learning management systems (LMS) software in K-12 schools and colleges, said the Blackboard Pay program would not charge overdraft fees or other penalties common among banks and other companies that issue debit cards.

Blackboard is teaming up with First Data and Discover to distribute the cards, which students will use to spend the per-semester or annual aid they are granted through federal or private loans. Student card holders will be able to use the Blackboard Pay cards to get cash from ATMs with the Pulse, Allpoint, or STAR Network logos, among other companies.…Read More