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  • Happy Earth Day! Take Action for the Earth Today. | CALPIRG Students
    out of reach for most Californians With the Charge Ahead program we can jump start this technological breakthrough to make them affordable for all Californians more quickly Oil companies are already working behind the scenes to undermine this proposal So we need to show the CA Senate that we want them to stand up for our planet and environment by supporting a million clean cars on the road in California Tell your Senator you want him or her to support a Million Clean Cars Together we can fight global warming Sustainable U Energy About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Frequently Asked Questions Campus Chapters UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Irvine UC Riverside UC San Diego UC Santa Barbara UC Santa Cruz UCLA USC Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Stopping Global Warming California Water Watch Don t Get Ripped Off Hunger and Homelessness Protect Our Beautiful Places New Voters Project Protect Public Health 21st Century Transportation Make Textbooks Affordable Newsroom Latest Updates Blog PIRG in the News News Releases Reports Donate Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/blogs/ca/happy-earth-day-take-action-earth-today (2016-04-29)
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  • CALPIRG heads to the Capitol | CALPIRG Students
    Time Jobs Campaigns Stopping Global Warming California Water Watch Don t Get Ripped Off Hunger and Homelessness Protect Our Beautiful Places New Voters Project Protect Public Health 21st Century Transportation Make Textbooks Affordable Newsroom Latest Updates Blog PIRG in the News News Releases Reports Donate Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/blogs/ca/calpirg-heads-capitol-0 (2016-04-29)
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  • Students Lose When Financial Aid Goes Onto Fee-Laden Debit Cards | CALPIRG Students
    account are sanctioned by the school They re not going to immediately assume Oh this is the bank that offered my school the most money to issue us debit cards When it comes to banks students are likelier to stick with that institution even after they graduate because switching banks is such a hassle Ideally they d be able to select a bank and an account based on their own needs PIRG says the school should be looking out for students best interests not their own bottom lines But in reality the study says that s what happens Although colleges and banks tend to keep their contracts pretty close to the vest the report offered one telling example In a contract with Ohio State University Huntington Bank agreed to pay the school 25 million over 15 years plus lend and invest up to 100 million more in the area around the campus This is big money and PIRG contends too much of this is being earned at students expense Although it s possible for students today to get financial aid via a paper check or direct deposited into another bank account study co author Rich Williams says some institutions make it deliberately difficult for them to do so Getting a paper check may require a wait of as long as a couple of weeks a time frame that simply isn t an option for many students especially those who are lower income To get funds direct deposited students might find that they have to jump through hoops like filling out forms by hand and finding a place where they can send them via fax in order for their request to be processed MORE 6 Common Misconceptions About Financial Aid Roughly 700 of the 900 partnerships are for debit cards attached to a checking account the remainder are prepaid debit cards Williams says Although prepaid debit fees have gotten a lot of attention lately including from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau some of the conventional debit cards are just as bad Multiplying the impact is the fact that some of this financial aid comes in the form of loans which means students are paying interest on the money they re forking over in fees In some cases students are charged 50 cents every time they use their cards to make a PIN based purchase at a retailer an amount that can multiply quickly if the card is their primary access point to their money Williams says a student pays an average of 5 each time they use a non partner ATM to access their funds Higher One although it serves 520 campuses only has 600 ATMs that are fee free for students to use If these machines break down or run out of money which happens before lunchtime on some days right after aid funds are deposited onto the cards students who need their money right away have no choice but to pay that roughly 5 surcharge about half of which

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/media/sp/students-lose-when-financial-aid-goes-fee-laden-debit-cards (2016-04-29)
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  • News Releases | CALPIRG Students
    DURBIN FRANKEN KING INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO HELP MAKE COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS MORE AFFORDABLE News Release U S Department of Education Textbooks U S Department of Education Announces First Ever Open Education Adviser Position The U S Department of Education announced today the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand schools access to high quality openly licensed learning resources Read more about U S Department of Education Announces First Ever Open Education Adviser Position News Release U S PIRG Textbooks U S PIRG Joins 91 Organizations In Calling on White House to Open Access to Federally Funded Educational Resources Today U S PIRG along with a broad coalition of 91 education organizations institutions of higher education technology companies and foundations called on the White House to ensure federally funded educational materials are made freely available to the public as the administration develops an Open Government Partnership plan this fall Read more about U S PIRG Joins 91 Organizations In Calling on White House to Open Access to Federally Funded Educational Resources Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 next last More About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Frequently Asked Questions Campus Chapters UC Berkeley UC Davis UC Irvine UC Riverside UC San Diego UC Santa Barbara UC Santa Cruz UCLA USC Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Stopping Global Warming California Water Watch Don t Get Ripped Off Hunger and Homelessness Protect Our Beautiful Places New Voters Project Protect Public Health 21st Century Transportation Make Textbooks Affordable Newsroom Latest Updates Blog PIRG in the News News Releases Reports Donate Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/news/ca/http:/C:%5CUsers%5CGaroM%5CAppData%5CLocal%5CTemp%5CUCSA.org (2016-04-29)
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  • Fixing Broken Textbooks | CALPIRG Students
    forced to forego assigned textbooks which are an essential aid in learning new material completing assignments and studying for exams because they are too expensive This also means that students are not only choosing not to purchase the materials they are assigned by their professor but they are knowingly accepting the risk of a lower grade to avoid paying for the textbook 2 High textbook costs can have a ripple effect on students other academic decisions Nearly half of all students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks impacted how many which classes they took each semester Students attend college seeking job preparation and or degree attainment Careful course selection is often necessary in order to yield the results that a student is seeking within the timeframe they are prepared to study It is especially concerning that this process may be being undermined by high textbook costs 3 Students want alternatives expressing support for textbooks that are available free online and buying a hard copy is optional 82 of students felt they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available free online and buying a hard copy was optional This is exactly how open textbooks are designed Not only is the open textbook an ideal alternative to a traditional textbook from a student point of view but it is the only product in the marketplace that can directly challenge the high prices that publishers charge for new editions These high prices which outpace inflation underpin the entire textbook marketplace and drive market conditions for other alternatives such as the used book and rental markets Conclusion Overall this study demonstrates that despite recent steps forward in the marketplace high textbook costs will continue to be a problem for students unless the cost of high priced new editions of college textbooks comes down Moreover the study demonstrates that students are ready for an alternative to traditional textbooks in their classrooms Open textbooks are the ideal model that student respondents felt would improve their classroom performance In addition to upfront student savings open textbooks can help reduce costs in the long run and drive real change in the market With free online versions and with optional purchase of a hard copy open textbooks give purchasing power back to the student removing the market failure that allows high prices for traditional textbooks while protecting the rights of faculty to assign the textbook they feel most appropriate In contrast options like rentals and e books offer no such fix to the market and allow prices to continue rising While the current supply of open textbooks is expanding quickly they still cover only a fraction of all college courses To introduce competition into the market and to make open textbooks a real alternative to traditional textbooks there needs to be more start up investment in the creation and development of open textbooks On many campuses faculty members have championed open textbooks but widespread knowledge about available materials is lacking Additionally it often

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/resources/ca/fixing-broken-textbooks (2016-04-29)
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  • Deals with banks stack fees on college students | CALPIRG Students
    overdrawing an account with a recurring bill payment and 50 cents to use a PIN instead of a signature system at a retail store Higher One has agreements with 520 campuses that enroll more than 4 3 million students about one fifth of the students enrolled in college nationwide according to public filings and the U S PIRG report Wells Fargo and US Bank combined have deals with schools that enroll 3 7 million the report says Lane Community College s president Mary Spilde said in an interview that the real problem is a lack of adequate public funding which forces students to seek financial aid and colleges to find ways to cut costs Many institutions are looking at ways to streamline and to do things that we re good at which is education and learning and not banking Spilde said Programs like Higher One s shift the cost of handing out financial aid money from universities which no longer have to print and mail checks to fee paying students said Rich Williams the report s lead author For decades student aid was distributed without fees Williams said Now bank middlemen are making out like bandits using campus cards to siphon off millions of student aid dollars Students can opt out of the programs and choose direct deposit or paper checks to receive their college aid but relatively few do The cards and accounts are marketed aggressively using college letterhead and websites carrying the endorsement of colleges Higher One also warns students that it will take extra days if they choose direct deposit or a paper check In the end students feel locked into accounts before they have a chance to shop for a better deal Parker Milligan said He said that s especially tough for poor students who rely on food stamps and other social services Those students budget down to the penny and don t plan on paying a fee when Higher One s ATM runs out of cash he said Offerings by financial companies vary by campus Some issue checking accounts with debit cards Others offer prepaid debit cards which are similar to bank debit cards but can carry higher fees and offer fewer consumer protections Often students campus ID cards double as payment cards At the University of Minnesota TCF Bank issues cards that serve as school IDs ATM and debit cards library cards security cards health care cards phone cards and stored value cards for vending machines the report said TCF also has branches on campus and 25 year naming rights to the football stadium Its cards charge similar fees the report says Having such visibility on campus is a big benefit for banks seeking exclusive access to an untapped group of potential customers Many banks are willing to pay universities for the privilege Under its contract with Huntington Bank Ohio State University will receive 25 million over 15 years plus a sweetener of 100 million in loans and investments for the neighborhoods around campus

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/media/sp/deals-banks-stack-fees-college-students (2016-04-29)
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  • Campus debit cards can carry downsides | CALPIRG Students
    but instead their aid is being eaten up in fees Let s look at some of the fees highlighted by the report One bank charges a 28 overdraft fee for each day an account is overdrawn for up to 14 days Students using prepaid debit cards can be charged for reloading or depositing money on the cards at ATMs At one school the reload fee is 4 95 One company charges students 50 cents if they swipe a card with a MasterCard logo choose the debit option and enter their personal identification number They don t get charged the fee if they use the credit option and sign the receipt This type of fee has been particularly controversial Students at Portland State University and Southern Oregon University protested the fee and had it removed Under one deal a student debit cardholder can be charged a 10 fee if another person tries to load money onto the student s card electronically but the transaction is canceled because the other person s bank account has insufficient funds Students can be assessed a fee when they check their balance at an ATM One institution charges 60cents per inquiry This does not include charges potentially assessed by the ATM owner Supporters of the fee structures on these campus card products insist fees are a natural consequence of electronic banking However students can easily find checking accounts available to the general public in the marketplace that are virtually free to use the report says Students can often opt to have their financial aid directly deposited into an account not affiliated with a financial institution working with their college They can get a paper check But inertia and heavy marketing by the financial companies often result in students choosing the cards being pushed under the college backed partnerships Students are not necessarily making their financial choices freely the report says When the college has selected a student ID vendor that incidentally offers additional banking services on the college mascot embellished card the student s choices are limited and the student is under the presumption that the college endorses the provider These deals many of which are not publicly disclosed raise questions that demand answers If students are getting precious grant aid or loans loaded on to their debit cards they shouldn t be nickel and dimed to death with fees U S PIRG recommends that students be presented with options to receive financial aid They should also be able to easily opt out of the university sponsored debit card program through the campus itself rather than having to go to a Web site or though other hurdles I see another investigation for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Although debit cards help make getting money easier we need to make sure students many new to banking aren t paying more than they need to for access to their money Readers can write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post 1150 15th St NW Washington D C 20071

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/media/sp/campus-debit-cards-can-carry-downsides (2016-04-29)
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  • Los Angeles City Council to vote on single-use, plastic- and paper-bag ban in markets | CALPIRG Students
    contributor to increased greenhouse gas emissions than plastic bags UCLA s chapter of the California Public Interest Research Group has been campaigning in favor of the measure In March the Undergraduate Students Association Council voted unanimously to support CALPIRG s campaign to ban plastic bags Chloe Groome vice chair of UCLA s CALPIRG chapter said the endorsement was symbolically important because it shows the Los Angeles City Council that the UCLA student body supports a ban Companies like Crown Poly a plastic manufacturing firm that distributes bags globally are opposed to the measure Reusable polypropylene bags one alternative to single use plastic and paper bags could have negative health impacts for consumers said Cathy Browne general manager at Crown Poly Browne said that plastic bags are a cleaner product than their prospective replacements because they do not contain heavy metals like the lead that is present in the polypropylene bags Other California cities and counties including Santa Monica Long Beach and Alameda County have already instituted similar bans Los Angeles County has also banned bags designated as single use or plastic and paper bags often given at grocery stores and other retailers The county ban affects unincorporated areas such as Baldwin Hills and Marina del Rey If the city council approves the proposed ordinance the ban will extend to within the city limits of Los Angeles If passed the ordinance will undergo an environmental review through the California Environmental Quality Act and be implemented in six to nine months said Reina Pereira a senior environmental engineer for the Bureau of Sanitation and one of the researchers for the legislation It is still unclear whether institutional scale stores at UCLA such as the market in Ackerman or the Hill Top Shop will be affected by the ban Pereira said That would

    Original URL path: http://www.calpirgstudents.org/media/ca/los-angeles-city-council-vote-single-use-plastic-and-paper-bag-ban-markets (2016-04-29)
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