Higher One, Eastern Michigan University’s student bank provider, has been widely criticized for charging students too many fees.
On their website, students can view a complete list of fees the company charges. The list includes, but isn’t limited to, a $2.50 fee for using an ATM other than the ones issued by Higher One and a $25 outgoing wire transfer fee.
Other fees the company can potentially charge students include using a pin to complete a debit transaction, inactivity for six months and withdrawing cash from a bank teller instead of an ATM.
Regardless of the associated fees, Higher One is the leading bank of choice, providing its services for about one-fifth of students enrolled in college. The Associated Press reported the system is used on 520 campuses nation-wide. Many of these colleges, including EMU, use the Higher One cards as both a student identification and money card, making it hard for students to opt out of the program.
California congressman George Miller recently wrote a letter to Higher One on account of the problems he noticed with the universities in his own state. He observed that many campuses did not have an ATM issued by Higher One.
“As financial aid funds are disbursed to students this week, I am deeply concerned students using debit cards will have difficulty accessing their funds free of charge,” Miller wrote to Higher One Jan 22.
According to The Associated Press, Higher One has paid over $10 million back to an estimated 60,000 students who were overcharged between the years of 2008-11. Higher One was also charged over $100,000 in fines by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Although colleges save money because Higher One electronically distributes financial aid refunds instead of the college having to process and mail refund checks, the potential additional fees tend to be more costly for students on top of their already growing school expenses.
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