Rose State Higher One Debit/ MasterCard smoothes refunds for colleges and students.
Photo By Michele Penix

College debit cards risk for students

Dennis Gosnell

Assistant Editor

Rose State Higher One Debit/ MasterCard smoothes refunds for colleges and students.
Photo By Michele Penix

 

In recent years banks have partnered with colleges to provide students with debit cards. These debit cards allow colleges to ensure easy and smooth transactions with students. However, students might find that the transaction fees are little more than they would choose to pay.

On Sept. 18, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, PIRG for short, held a national student news teleconference to share its findings from a report that examined whether students got a fair deal when banks partnered with colleges to give students debit cards.

Three presenters’ Rich Williams, Higher Education Advocate with U.S. PIRG, Anne Johnson, Director of Campus Progress, and Rohit Chopra, Private Student Loan Ombudsman with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gave reporters a breakdown of the sort of problems found when colleges partnered with banks.

“Nine-million students are potentially at risk for increased educational debt due to bank-affiliated campus debit cards that come with high fees, insufficient consumer protection and few options,” Williams said.

According to PIRG there are 900 campuses nation wide “grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards” to ensure banks receive a healthy profit.

RSC is partnered with Higher One financial services, and according to the F.A.Q. handout available in SSB room 200, three college students started the company in 2000 to provide students with a better way to receive and manage money. The card allows the college to give students refunds.

Williams also referred to colleges as a gateway for financial savvy banks to take advantage of the younger generation by giving students cards issued by colleges.

“Students think they are getting a fair deal and unbiased advice when they see a college logo on these cards, when in reality colleges are getting financial perks while students are getting stuck with high bank fees,” Williams said.

According, the U.S. PIRG report there are currently 32 of the 50 largest public 4-year universities, 26 of the largest 50 community colleges, and 6 of the largest 20 private not-for-profit schools have debit or prepaid card contracts with a bank or a financial firm.

Eighty percent of Higher Ones revenue is made through siphoning fees from student aid disbursement cards.  Based off of SEC filings that is a total of $142.5 million of its $176.3 million total revenues.

In part two of this article there will be tips on how to avoid what U.S. PIRG calls the “The Campus Debit Card Trap”. 

By 15th Street News Posted in News, Raider Life Tagged Banks, campus cards, , Consumer, Debit, Debt, , Fees, Finance, Higher Education, Higher One, PIRG,

Obama addresses trade enforcement, energy and education

The State of the Union is an annual address given by the President to Congress. It is an opportunity for the President to outline his agenda for the year, as well as give the condition of the country. The address is required of the President based upon Article II, Section 3 in the United States Constitution which states that “He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The tradition of formally addressing the Congress was discontinued by Thomas Jefferson, who sent formal missives, but was reestablished by Woodrow Wilson.

President Obama delivered his third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, January 24. He made many points throughout the speech, some with applause and some with loud boos from the audience. Obama touched on many of the issues facing our country in the past years, and those we will be facing in the future.

Special guests who were invited to sit in the First Lady’s box at the address included Steve Jobs widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Warren Buffett’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek. She was in attendance as a result of the tax debate and billionaire Buffet’s complaint that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. The guest list for the State of the Union has become a sort of ritual, with the list often reflecting the themes of the address.

One highlight of the speech came when Obama revealed that an EPA regulation from over 40 years ago, which regulated dairy farms at the same level as petroleum and forced dairy farmers to spend money to prove they were capable of containing a milk spill, that had been eliminated. “With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk,” Obama said.

Obama called for the implementation of the “Buffett rule,” where if a person makes over $1 million annually, they should be taxed at a rate no less than 30 percent. Sen. Tom Coburn was referenced in this part of the speech on the opinion that Washington needs to stop subsidizing millionaires and offering them tax deductions.

Jobs were a big topic for this address. The President called for the country to help train Americans in skills that will lead directly to jobs. Obama wants to give community colleges the resources they need to be community career centers to teach skills that are in high demand.

One major announcement that Obama made was the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit. The unit was formed to investigate unfair trade practices in countries around the world, with inspections of goods crossing the border in order for counterfeit and unsafe goods from entering the country.

Another unit was announced, this time being for the financial sector. The Financial Crimes Unit would serve to crack down on fraud, and implement penalties for a fraud count. This is to help protect people’s investments and the institutions following the laws.

A third unit in the works is for the protection of homeowners against abusive lending and packaging of mortgages. It would also help get assistance to homeowners, as well as a plan to help them save up to $3,000 a year on their mortgage.

In relation to schools around the country, Obama requested that the mandatory school age be upped to 18 or until graduation. He called for Congress to prevent the hike in student loan interest in July, when they are expected to double, as well as an extension of the tuition tax credit and an increase in the number of work-study jobs.

In the wake of the rejection of Keystone XL pipeline, Obama introduced the clean energy initiative announcing that the department of the Navy will make a large renewable energy purchase of one gigawatt and requesting the Department of the Interior to permit for 10 gigawatts of renewable projects by the end of the year, enough to power nearly three million homes.

The 2012 State of the Union was followed by The Republican Response, which was delivered by Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels.

Robins merry men become Anonymous

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

There once was a man named Robin of Loxley who became known throughout Great Britain as Robin of the Hood. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor; he was a man for the people.

In more recent years, Anonymous has taken up the mantle of the once great Robin. They seek out injustices wrought by big businesses and overzealous governments to prevent personal freedom and privacy from being extinguished.

Anonymous what the? ….

Officially Anonymous does not exist or have leaders. They seem to be an elusive shadow that anyone can join or claim to be a member of. This sounds shady. If you plot and send warnings of impending attacks, you are a group with an agenda. There is some form of leadership, there is also individual control over what is and is not Anonymous.

This leads to a variety of questions about the trustworthiness of such an organization that hides behind a computer without being held accountable for the actions of its members.

This is not to say that what Anonymous is doing is wrong. The everyday person has more to worry about than what is going on in global politics, economy, and unification. People worry about getting food on the table, having a place to live, and whether or not their children are happy, healthy, and safe.

The increasing level of personal freedom and privacy that is being stripped from the everyday person for the sake of security has made citizens question what is really happening in government. Thus, Anonymous has formed into a kind of resistance. Targeting social media sites, and businesses that exploit the trust of the people for whom they work. For this reason, governments both foreign and domestic are also targets.

Faceless men cannot be Revolutionaries

There is one problem though; faceless men cannot fight a war against injustice. One day some overzealous youth will take up the call, make a mistake and be convicted of espionage because they did not know what they were doing, but felt they were being called to fight in the ever-evolving Internet privacy war.

Would Anonymous go to their brother’s aid? It is unclear, as Anonymous can disclaim they were involved in any action taken. Is Anonymous scared of retribution? Why else would they claim to be a non-group of like-minded individuals who perform tasks pertinent to social freedom?

What do they really stand for?

So who is Anonymous, what is their objective? Are they for the people, vying for control, or just malcontent workers of former Internet companies? It is uncertain, as the shadowy cloak of the group’s image remains unseen.

One thing is for sure. What is unseen can be friendly or deadly, and Anonymous thus far seems to think they can take on the world. Until proven otherwise a stamp of “treat with caution” should be applied to the non-group’s business card.