Put That Beer On My Student Loan

A card called “Higher One” lets college kids take their student loan and turn it into a debit card they can use to buy pizza, beer, and other learning essentials with.

The card was cooked up by two Yale students who in typical Yaley fashion noticed an opportunity to make some arbitrage bucks from when students get more aid than covers their tuition. Schools usually refund that money to students with a paper check. But by putting the balance on a debit card instead, schools could eliminate the paper costs, students would get immediate access to their money, and the entrepreneurs could collect on the transaction and service fees.

The card has a $20 replacement fee and a $19 a month inactivity fee after 9 months. PIN transactions cost an extra $.50 a piece.

The card’s makers say students can avoid the fees if they use the card properly, which, in this case, would seem to be to transfer the account balance into your main bank account. You know, sort of like depositing a check.

Put That Pizza On My Student Loan [CNBC] (Thanks to David!)

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  1. c!tizen says:

    “Higher One”

    You’d have to be high to consider this a plausible option.

  2. vioviovioletta says:

    This isn’t that new. When I was in school about 3 years ago everyone had a HigherOne card.

  3. cvt2010 says:

    Or they could eliminate those paper costs by using direct deposit, like my school did for refunds…

    • 44Wadeable says:

      And then you could just buy beer and pizza with the loan money in your bank account…

      Seriously, I don’t understand this.

    • thecommonraven says:

      Higher One gives schools incentives to sign onto the program. The university can also then have fewer people on payroll dealing with refunds, so they save even more money there. The Higher One card is very attractive to poor schools like mine, and very unattractive to those poor schools’ students, which is why my school decided to switch to them during the summer months, when the student government wasn’t in session, and couldn’t block it.

  4. humphrmi says:

    The schools themselves (the financial aid offices) are driving this. The key element of their argument is that it’s reducing paper costs, by not having to cut checks. But there is a cost of moving money around, and it’s either born by the sender or the receiver. In this case, your school’s financial aid offices are transferring the costs to the student.

    Yes, complain about the guys who thought this up and make money off of it, but at the end of the day it’s really your school that is screwing you.

    • JakeChance says:

      Would something like mandatory direct deposit cost the school as much?

      • humphrmi says:

        AFAIK, direct deposit is much cheaper per transaction than paper. However school financial aid offices might argue that not every student has a checking or savings account.

  5. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I seriously doubt that the remainder of my financial aid would have covered my beer and hallucinogens costs while in college. I took advanced organic chemistry. NOT the class, the chemistry.

  6. Hi_Hello says:

    The one thing I never understand about financial aid… why people can use the money for stuff other than school related. I see a lot of low-income family going to the community college with brand new cars that they paid for with the financial aid money.

    If they can create foodstamps where you can only spend it on food related stuff.. why can’t they create the same thing for financial aid money?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      And they will pay for that car for the rest of their lives, if thats where the $$ came from. No bankruptcy for them.

      (Disclosure: I’m still paying – in more ways than one – for several nights of drunken debauchery on the days my loans were dispersed…)

      • Hi_Hello says:

        some of them don’t care. They probably end up dropping out of school. Selling the car. And get welfare money by popping out kids. The government can’t get debt collector to take a car they already sold or take a house they are renting from section 8. Or take it from their paycheck which comes from the government.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          +1

          If I could have become a welfare mother, my life would have been SO much different.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          There’s a thing called a lien. They can use this thing to garnish wages directly.

          • Hi_Hello says:

            haha you guys are funny. There are a lot of way people abuse the system. You can garnish wages if they don’t have a wage.

            • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

              Clearly what we need is more financial aid for education because these are some fucking dumb replies.

            • jamar0303 says:

              In which case how are they going to live without being paid? And “abusing the system” by tax evasion gets the IRS on you, in which case hello, jail time.

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          You do not understand federal student loans. They never go away. Ever.

          • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

            Yet, if you have no wages or tax returns to garnish, and just don’t give a damn, mmm, blood, turnip…

            Yea, the debt will swell, but the welfare state will take care of you.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Yes, let’s concern ourselves more with the smallest portion of the students than the vast majority. Our system should be punitive, not rewarding. By making school as punishing and cruel as possible, more students will be encouraged to explore new areas of knowledge and perform their best in school.

              Crack that whip and watch the cattle run. This is the point of college. Clearly.

              • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

                I agree that its a small percntage that abuse loans, an I agree the system needs changing. The first change needs to be: Educate students about what kind of debt hell they are getting themselves into with loans.

                Next problem: Government programs designed to help pay for college are feeding the beast. The schools raise prices because students can “just get a loan” not for any valid reason.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Because that money is supposed to be flexible for food, books, supplies, and even rent. In many cases it’s based on the idea of a “full-time student,” someone who ideally isn’t taking on a job while they study (even though it’s usually not enough for that).

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      How do you strictly define “school related?”

      I used my financial aid to pay for my housing, to pay for my insurance, to pay for food, and even to pay for the occasional movie because I wanted to unwind.

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        Butbutbut! My tax dollars! Oh wait, they’re not my tax dollars, since when I gave them to the government they ceased to be mine.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        full time student can dorm. money should go direct to the school for housing.

        i know my school, any student that dorm are require to get a meal plan. Which is part of the tuition, money can go to the school directly.

        as for insurance. Healthy insurance, if the student didn’t have one, they can buy from the school, money can go to the school directly.

        car insurance. Live in campus, don’t need a car. Public transportation. Bike.

        movie, find a school event or rent from the library.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          OK, let’s break down your arguments based on my undergrad (it’s a big public university in California, you may be able to figure out which one.)

          1. At least when I attended, dorms were only available for the first two years of school, and it was actually possible to live more cheaply off-campus. I lived a year in an off-campus apartment, and saved thousands a year compared to the dorms.

          2. Health insurance: student insurance is great if you are on-campus, and not-go-great if you are not. Why shouldn’t I also have the option of staying on a parent’s plan for cheaper if it’s available and offers better coverage/deductibles?

          3. Yes, public transportation is great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out well if you live in LA or SD as I did for undergrad and grad. Having a car available gave me significant options for attending cultural events in the area, or even just going to a local cafe to study.

          Also, if you happen to have a part-time job off-campus, or in my case a significant other and family who live elsewhere, a car can be incredibly helpful.

          4. How about if I want to pay to see a showing of a play? Or a film? Or go to a museum that charges admission? Should I also avoid that? How about being able to buy some clothes? Should I only buy the school-mandated uniforms?

          • Hi_Hello says:

            sorry for any miscommunication on my part. I merely wanted to state the other option avaiblea and not define what are school related or not.

            housing I think is school related but only certain type of houses. If they have section 8 houses. I’m sure they can create student housing, on or off campus.

            if you stay when your parent’s health insurance, you shouldn’t need to use the financial aid to pay for health insurance. If you are under your parent insurance, they should let your parent claim you on the tax and get those health insurance payment reimbursed. SHOULD, dunno if this mean it exist or not.

            if insurance is too much, bike.

            if you have a part-time job, use the part-time for your other expenses not financial aid.

            plays and films, go to the one offer at the school. if they don’t offer one and you are really into it, create a clubs and get money from the school to show films or put up plays. Don’t tell me not all school let you form clubs or have clubs…

            school mandates uniform should just be include in tuition, which should be covered by financial aid. Not just uniform, I think all school related fees should just be part of the tuition and financial aid should cover it. I think it’s whack that school charge you a fee to provide an official transcript. X amount of transcript should be part of the tuition.

            If people spend way more than what they need to go to college, they should just get a private student loan and do whatever.

            Which bring me to another point, after high school, the basic require courses for all college/universe should be taught in the first and second year of community college and should all be transfer to any college and university. Classes like math, science, english 101 through whatever. Which the government should provide for free or cheap. That way when students transfer to another collegel or university, it will cost them less, and the government won’t have to pay the school a butt load of money.

            Screw that, take it one step further. Education in america should go from grade pre-school through 14th and each graduated get an associated degree and only need a 2 year college degree to get a bachelor degree.

            The extra two years should weed out the people who want an education versus people who want free government money before they drop out of college.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Apartment/housing: Better yet, I can shop around and find an apartment nearby that is affordable and meets my personal needs. Y’know, make a choice… as an adult?

              Insurance: Sometimes that option may not be available, and even if it isn’t, why shouldn’t I be allowed to choose better insurance if I need it? What if I prefer a different policy because it has better coverage when I go home, or because I have a chronic condition?

              Transportation: That’s an awful lot of fun in the winter, or when it’s pouring rain.
              Plays and films and entertainment: You know how colleges want to develop well-rounded adults? Part of being a well-rounded adult is exploring your hobbies, passions, and interests. If you can go see a play for the price of a couple value meals, why shouldn’t you?

              Clothing: You missed my point, sir. My point is that universities need to provide money for people to buy CLOTHING. And, quite frankly, the only way to do that without giving people discretion over spending is uniforms.

              I would have never attended a university that required me to wear a uniform every day. No way.

              Also, there are other discretionary items that people need: medicine, hygiene products, suits and nice clothing for interviews, etc. These are items that have to be purchased at a student’s discretion. Unless you’re going to tell me that every student will be provided with the school’s official razors and maxi pads? We’ll see how long that lasts.

              As for your plan for transferring, did you actually go to college? There are very very very few people who go to school just to get “free money.”

              • Hi_Hello says:

                yea, i went to university. i actually went to a high school that gave me an associated degree for something, I don’t know what, it didn’t matter to me. I also realized that the first year of college was all subjects I learned in H.S. already and didn’t understand why I’m paying for this. I thought it was stupid until I met someone who went to a community college and say that the stuff they taught in the first year was a big leap from what he learned in H.S. and he was an all A student in H.S. He had to struggle. The H.S. he went to was my second choice back in 8th grade. It was suppose to be a good school.

                When I took classes at the community college, I talked to my university counselor to make sure the credit will transfer. I met a guy who was in his third year at the community college. He wanted to transfer to a university but because his counselor never told him he needed to sign a form stating he plan to attend for two years and transfer his credits, he can’t do it now. Even thought he took all valid classes. He had to complete 4 years in community, get his associated, then transfer to a university, but then he won’t qualify for financial aids from the government because he will be given 4 years of financial aid already. Suck that this happen before Obama told people that most college students don’t graduated in 4 years.

                • Good Cop Baby Cop says:

                  A university won’t accept a transfer student because he didn’t fill out a form when he started community college? Nope. No.

                  As for the rest of your comments, especially about people going to university for free money, it all smacks of the welfare queen myth transferred (no pun intended) to college.

            • graytotoro says:

              It’s much easier said than done. Have you tried cycling in the LA area? Good luck with that. I live in a very bike-friendly town and it’s somewhat hellish biking through an unexpected rainstorm.

              You say go form a club to see a movie. I would imagine the paperwork and time spent finding a sponsor and other members to keep the club alive would prove more time-consuming and expensive (at least in terms of economic cost) than just spending that extra money to acquire said film.

            • Norsehawk says:

              As a current college student myself, let me give you some numbers that I get to choose between:

              Living in the dorms = $800 a month for a private bedroom (I’m a non traditional older student so I don’t have any place I can go when school is on break)
              Meal Plan= roughly $2000 a semester

              My apartment: $515 a month, and I can stay there the whole year, I do have to pay utilities but they are never more than $180 a month
              Food: $1-200 a month in groceries

              Living off campus, I save a ton of money. My college also thankfully has a nice deal with the local county bus service where students get to ride for free showing off their student ID cards (or you can pay $180 a year for a parking pass) I ride the bus to school and save the money on the parking pass. (the fact that the bus drops me off right in front of the library at the heart of the campus doesn’t hurt either)

        • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

          Dorms and meal plans are not always efficient uses of money. Dorms can be tremendously overpriced housing when you consider the floorplans and the fact that they kick you out every semester. Not everyone gets to go home to mommy and daddy every five to six months. Meal plans are sometimes not better than stocking up at home. Do you not get to rent movies if you’re studying film? Does the library have options in the first place? Every single thing you mention is highly dependent on the specific school you go to and your specific circumstances. Get over the fact that people do things different from you.

          • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

            NO. School is not meant to be for anything but reading books and attending lectures. You are here to CRAM FACTS, slave-student!

            Get back to learning more facts!

          • Hi_Hello says:

            i’m merely pointing out the option that are available. If financial aid money had restriction, I’m sure people will less likely use them for non school related stuff.

            dorms – hell yea they are over priced. I don’t know about your school but my school required all freshman to dorm if they are staying in campus. They increase the financial aid to include the dorm fee and food plan. Basically if I live at campus vs at home, I would’ve have to pay the exact same amount. That was just base on my financial info though.

            films, I’m sure you won’t be the only one in class, buddy up. The free library, if any place still have them, will order books and films that they don’t have for people. It’s a service they don’t really tell you when you sign up but I later found out. I’m sure a school library would have access to films for whatever classes is offered.

            I would also conside films to be school related stuff. Also apartments within the campus area.

            Please note, I’m only talking about grants and any aids where you don’t have to pay back.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Again, what about, I dunno, years 3 and 4 of college?

              What if I want to relax with my friends or significant other by seeing a new movie? Y’know, this thing called “having fun.”

              Oh, and you always have to pay back when you get aids. You pay back everything, in full.

              • Hi_Hello says:

                not everything. there are financial aid that you don’t have to pay back and school grants, and scholarship.

                I don’t really care about the government school loans since you have to pay back and there’s a limit.

                most financial aids combine with grants and other free money are way way over the cost of tuition for community college. And people use those money go luxury crap.

                on the other side of the problem, school, don’t inform or educate or guidance counsel don’t guide students at community, who goes to school for 4 years, used up all the grant and realized after they graduated that they need to go to another 4 year college to get the BS without anymore financial aid.

                The whole American eduation system is all whack.

                • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

                  not everything. there are financial aid that you don’t have to pay back and school grants, and scholarship.

                  What difference does it make if I have to pay it back? If I can balance my financial aid and spend responsibly, what difference does any of this make?

                  You’re arguing that

                  “most financial aids combine with grants and other free money are way way over the cost of tuition for community college. And people use those money go luxury crap.”

                  Yes, because they want students to be able to live and eat and silly things like that. How dare they! Who needs food?

                  “on the other side of the problem, school, don’t inform or educate or guidance counsel don’t guide students at community, who goes to school for 4 years, used up all the grant and realized after they graduated that they need to go to another 4 year college to get the BS without anymore financial aid.”

                  Uhh, my university spent a ton of money on counseling and how to use grant money wisely. Where did you go to college?

                  • Hi_Hello says:

                    my problem is the the fin. aid, the one where students don’t have to pay back, the government has a limit. They can only give it to x amount of student and each students can only get x amount of money. There are handful of stupid are are given way more than they need because they belong to a minority or some BS stuff. They don’t care for an education or to get a job or anything. They just want the free money. At the same time there are kids who just because they are not a minority can’t afford to pay for college because the government won’t give them much.

                    The way I see, they are taking more resources than they need from a limited supply while other are left with nothing.

                    I went to 4 college and then learn I can take classes at my community college, get it transfer and take more classes at my regular classes that focus on my major. I met some people at the community college that got screwed by their counselors. I’ve also found out that some kids use the money to buy game consoles, big screen tv and a bunch of stuff not even remotely close to school related stuff. Some of the use it as down payment on a new suv while living in a section 8 home 0-o…. how is that okay?

        • RandomHookup says:

          And for those schools that don’t have dorms?

        • kmw2 says:

          1) Dorm fees are more expensive than apartments, in many cases. They also don’t work for nontraditional students, students with children, married students, graduate students, and students that have other reasons for living in dormitories. Likewise, campus meal plans are generally far more expensive than feeding yourself. My university charges an average of $8.75 per meal on their meal plans. I feed myself and my daughter for well under half that. How is that an effective use of government funds, or since I’m the one paying for most of it, my future money?

          2) I very much doubt that you know anyone driving a brand new car they bought with their financial aid. Financial aid is limited to cost of attendance, which _does_ include tuition, fees, books, computers, transportation, rent, food, and so on, but does not include new cars or many other fripperies your fevered brain may be imagining. You might get $3K a year or so over your base expenses, if you’re lucky, but usually not.

          3) The vast, vast majority of financial aid _is_ spent on school-related expenses, because it goes directly to the school. For example, my tuition is $11.5K, my assorted fees (health insurance, etc.) is around $3K. I get a whopping total of $1.5K a year or so in financial aid refunds, which I generally spend on books and summer classes.

          4) If you actually went to college you might understand all this stuff. Maybe you should try it!

      • BluePlastic says:

        That’s what I’m confused about. I’m actually a nontraditional student right now and I have a student loan from the federal gov’t and it is on a Higher One card (will have to be paid back when I cease to be a student, hopefully graduation). I just assumed that I would not be allowed to use that money on anything but books and tuition or anything else that can be directly attributed to school.

    • Jubes says:

      I received financial aid for this school year. We get it in 2 chunks. 60% in September, 40% in January. After some clever budgeting (car insurance, rent, food, bills etc), I was still left with about $500/month as extra spending money. Since I sold my car in October, I got to minus my car insurance and the money budgeted for gas and repairs, so my monthly allowance went up quite a bit. After transferring my share of rent and bills, I put the excess money in a (supposedly) high interest savings account and set up a transfer to occur at the beginning of each month, but I only transferred myself around half of what I technically could spend. Since I wasn’t even spending that much, I would only top up to a certain amount. In January when I get the other 40%, I’ll still continue with my plan. This way I’ve been able to plan and pay for my share for a family vacation to Europe I’m going on right after graduating. Also, as soon as I graduate, my loan reduces from 11k to 7200, so basically the money I’ve been spending is just a giant bursary.

    • Mamudoon says:

      I didn’t even know you could use the money for non-school-related things until I heard my friends talk about all the toys and trips they were financing with their student loan money. The way it worked for me (which wasn’t that long ago – graduated in 2004), the loan went directly to the school to pay for tuition, and whatever was left over went back to whoever loaned it to me. I never saw any of that money.

      It’s nice that I don’t have $100K in student loan debt now (especially considering that I’m now disabled), but I think my college years would have been a lot more fun if I didn’t have to work almost full-time while going to school so I could pay my bills.

    • coren says:

      Because after it goes to tuition, the rest goes to the student directly, and the issuer (be they government or bank) has no control over what an individual does with what essentially has become free cash (at least in the short term). It’s obviously in your best interest to keep your loan balance down – less you owe later. But “non-traditional” students, by which I mean students who are older, married, with kids, former military, etc. get lots of grants and aid because..well, it’s there. I know I got full tuition covered the second time I tried college and the first time I had to pay myself.

      Also, since student loans cost nothing while you’re in school, it becomes an interest free car for three years…

    • thecommonraven says:

      Who defines what counts as school related?

      A brand new Canon 7d could be a legitimate purchase for a photography student or a really expensive and unnecessary toy for a literature major.

  7. galaxirose says:

    Yeah that’s not new at all. We had Higher One cards that were mandatory for receiving your financial aid back when I was in college (2006).

  8. daveinva says:

    When in grad school I ended up with an extra $5000 in loans that I didn’t ask for. Rather than return it, I figured I’d use it to cover living expenses. Trust me, it was just that: living expenses. I think I dragged that five grand out over two semesters of Ramen, ketchup and subway tokens.

    If I had a card like this back in college, alas, I would have surely run up even more loan debt than I should have. I guess it’s technically better for a responsible student meeting their living expenses to go into student loan debt than credit card debt, but if they get in over their head, unlike credit card debt, student loan debt can’t be written off in a bankruptcy.

    Of course, that’s only for the defensible purchases… I can’t imagine anyone actually going out and buying a car (!!) on a student loan. Ugh…

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Why not?

      My undergrad loans were 1.9%– financing that and then paying it back using a self-made payment program meant that I got the cheapest car loan of my life.

      A loan is a loan is a loan.

  9. whereismyrobot says:

    My school went to this a couple of years ago. Higher One makes it difficult for you to have the money deposited into your bank account (but not impossible). They are riddled with hidden fees. And of course they are targeting people who are in the worst position to use the card responsibly or read the fine print.

    • aidenn says:

      They do make you jump through an insane amount of hoops to just have the money put into your checking account.

      I submitted the ACH form and got an email 7 days later that it had been denied. Why? Because they felt that my legal signature was not legible. When I called them and stated that’s the point of a signature and that it could be a line drawing of a hamster, so long as it was my signature, they refused to provide any more ACH services and said I could have the debit card or a paper check only.

      I took the paper check, but they need to learn what the hell a signature can be.

  10. aperture_kubi says:

    I have this card. The only upside to it is I can use it to “section off” extra scholarship money and use easily keep track of it when making other academic purchases (along with the occasional batch of computer parts I don’t want my mom to know about).

    I still think it’s a stupid idea, adds an extra card to my wallet I’m already trying to keep barebones. You don’t get charged a PIN transaction if you opt to sign verify instead of using a PIN (run it as a credit card IIRC) and fortunately my bookstore is familiar with this.

  11. yevarechecha says:

    What is this “paper check” of which you speak? My university applies the loan to my tuition balance and then deposits the remainder directly into my bank account. Which means I don’t need to carry around an extra fee-laden debit card, I just use the one I already have. Do these kids not have bank accounts or something?

  12. ConsumerMan says:

    Higher One is a 10 year old company. They went public this year. http://newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/higher_one_goes_higher.

  13. rahntwo says:

    I have one of those with 51 cents on it. The terms suck, but you can use it without paying any fees. I use it on telemarketers sometimes. I figure eventually higher 1 will fine me 51 cents and close the account. I’m curious how long that will take.

  14. Bsamm09 says:

    I took out a lot of student loans. Paid School, books, off-campus housing, and food/gas/bar. This allowed me to take an internship with no pay and offered to work at a CPA firm for free.

    Best thing I ever did. Most accounting jobs want two years experience with a bachelors.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      You mean you took a long-term view on your college investment, rather than simply being transaction-minded and worrying about every penny of debt as if it would destroy your very soul?

      Who are you and why are you on this site?

  15. MFfan310 says:

    Indiana’s state community college system, Ivy Tech, started doing this last year. (FTR, I’m an Ivy Tech grad, so I know how this works.)

    Ivy Tech students used to get student loan refunds via a check or direct deposit. Now, the free direct deposit option has been replaced by the Ivy Tech/Higher One Debit MasterCard, where one can transfer the money to their normal (PNC, Key, Chase, credit union, etc.) checking account and out of this card’s built-in checking account for a fee. (Refund checks are still offered by Ivy Tech upon student request.) To avoid the fees, many students just use the free Higher One ATMs on campus and then put it back into their normal checking account – or opt for paper refund checks.

  16. intense_jack says:

    I sent something similar in to the Consumerist a few months ago about the higher ed system in Colorado doing exactly this. The doofy part is that the schools won’t even be involved – they’re paying a 3rd party $400,000/year to collect and keep all these fees. There’s fees to withdraw money from any ATM except the 1 they provide on campus, fees to transfer the balance off of the card, fees out the arse really.

  17. sponica says:

    I was in school from 2002 to 2009 (2 degrees). Any excess funds that remained from a federal loan were directly deposited to my bank account. Seeing as the school more or less required direct deposit for work study, they already had my bank account info to do the direct deposit. The only checks that were NEVER directly deposited were the private loan checks. Those I actually had to go and sign over to my grad school, and then the excess would be mailed out to me in paper form.

  18. plumbob says:

    My college’s Higher One card was the weirdest piece of plastic I ever carried in my wallet.

    I HAD to have it to enroll, but there is no account attached to the card, I never opened one or gave permission for one to be opened. I received financial aid, but it never touched my Higher One card. I had the school cut me a check which came from their financial aid sweep account, not from Higher One.

  19. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    Apartment/housing: Better yet, I can shop around and find an apartment nearby that is affordable and meets my personal needs. Y’know, make a choice… as an adult?

    Insurance: Sometimes that option may not be available, and even if it isn’t, why shouldn’t I be allowed to choose better insurance if I need it? What if I prefer a different policy because it has better coverage when I go home, or because I have a chronic condition?

    Transportation: That’s an awful lot of fun in the winter, or when it’s pouring rain.
    Plays and films and entertainment: You know how colleges want to develop well-rounded adults? Part of being a well-rounded adult is exploring your hobbies, passions, and interests. If you can go see a play for the price of a couple value meals, why shouldn’t you?

    Clothing: You missed my point, sir. My point is that universities need to provide money for people to buy CLOTHING. And, quite frankly, the only way to do that without giving people discretion over spending is uniforms.

    I would have never attended a university that required me to wear a uniform every day. No way.

    Also, there are other discretionary items that people need: medicine, hygiene products, suits and nice clothing for interviews, etc. These are items that have to be purchased at a student’s discretion. Unless you’re going to tell me that every student will be provided with the school’s official razors and maxi pads? We’ll see how long that lasts.

    As for your plan for transferring, did you actually go to college? There are very very very few people who go to school just to get “free money.”

  20. David Ciani says:

    Whats the difference between this and the ETF refund i get to my checking account (which I have a debit card for)? Oh yeah, my checking account, debit card and the ETF don’t cost me anything…

  21. pokinsmot says:

    I saw this the other night on a CNBC special, which that article was a small part of. It was called “The Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis”. Pretty interesting special, they theorized that the student loans are the new sub-prime mortgage. Watch it if you get a chance!

  22. thecommonraven says:

    I’ve been lurking on The Consumerist for a while now, and just now created an account so that I could post on this article.

    Higher One cards are the biggest pieces of crap.

    As a transfer student to a university in Oregon a few years ago, I received the Higher One card a few weeks before starting school. The literature sent with the card is very misleading. Because the card often doubles as a school ID–your school can have a customized image on the card, with the University name and even your photo–the paperwork implies that the student id card is worthless unless you activate the card. However, this is not the case, the second you receive the card, it works for meal points or other school necessities. Thinking I was merely activating my school ID, I wound up getting latched into their “instant refund” process, which is nearly impossible to get out of.

    At least once a year since I’ve had the card, it will randomly freeze me out of my online account, and each time I call about it, I have to jump through 1 million hoops to try and remedy it. They somehow have the wrong SS# on file (though it was right the first time I contacted them…weird) and will only accept a photo copy of my social security card to fix it. I don’t have a copy of my SS card, and so I generally end up twisting in the wind for a few weeks until the online account randomly allows me on again.

  23. SassySoy says:

    people will get so careless with that. “mehh I’m already 20,000 in the hole, this cup of coffie is practically free” >.>

    stupid..

  24. ZakiSea horse says:

    Woo Hoo! I’m goin’ back to college for sure now!