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  • Students Lose When Financial Aid Goes Onto Fee-Laden Debit Cards | INPIRG
    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 goes to Higher One One study conducted by a consulting firm on behalf of Higher One found that students paid an average of 49 in fees each year Yes students come to college

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/sp/students-lose-when-financial-aid-goes-fee-laden-debit-cards (2016-04-29)
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  • Campus debit cards can carry downsides | INPIRG
    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 or singletarym washpost com Personal responses may not be possible and comments or questions may be used in a future column with the writer s name unless otherwise requested To read previous Color

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/sp/campus-debit-cards-can-carry-downsides (2016-04-29)
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  • Obama, Romney focus on student debt as campaign issue | INPIRG
    the right vision and the right answers that are going appeal to those voters The topic that we ve been discussing today is a great example of why said James Kvaal policy director for the Obama campaign However a survey released last week by Georgetown University and the Public Religion Research Institute found that fewer than half of young voters say they are certain to show up at the polls this time They rank jobs and unemployment as their most critical issue according to the survey with the federal deficit and education nearly tied for second place The debate over what to do about the nation s 1 trillion in student loan debt speaks directly to all of those concerns Many graduates have struggled to find jobs in the tight labor market and have fallen behind on their college loans in the process Another study by Pew found that those debts have made it harder for many young people to buy a home and have affected their career choices That has prompted rallies at college campuses across the country calling for an extension of low interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans The rates were reduced to 3 4 percent in 2007 but will double on July 1 for new loans According to the White House about 7 million students would be affected and the increase could cost them as much as 5 000 over the next decade Democratic lawmakers have proposed bills in both chambers that would extend the current rates through next year but some Republicans have balked at the 6 billion price tag On Monday Sen Tom Harkin D Iowa chairman of the education committee said he would introduce new legislation on the issue later this week Romney s support for the issue could help push it through the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill However the candidate cautioned that the extension should be paid for in a way that doesn t harm the job prospects of young Americans Still the Obama campaign accused Romney of switching positions and supporting cuts to popular Pell Grants And some Democratic lawmakers remained skeptical of Romney s intentions If they re just going to say we re for it but not for paying for it any way that can pass and not for not paying for it then it s a game Sen Charles E Schumer D N Y said But if they re serious we want to pass this Harkin said that he opposed cutting other areas of education to pay for the extension but he had not yet identified another source of revenue Nevertheless Romney s comments fueled hope among consumer activists for the bill s prospects This should send a clear message to Congress that this is a common sense nonpartisan issue said Rich Williams higher education advocate for U S PIRG Staff writer Rosalind S Helderman contributed to this report Sonmez reported from Pennsylvania About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/sp/obama-romney-focus-student-debt-campaign-issue (2016-04-29)
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  • New York Times: Student Loan Interest Rates Loom as Political Battle | INPIRG
    from Republicans who accuse the president of using the issue in a fiscally irresponsible way in an attempt to buy the youth vote The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that a one year freeze on the interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans would cost 6 billion Bad policy based on lofty campaign promises has put us in an untenable situation said John P Kline Jr the Minnesota Republican who is chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce The low interest rate stemmed from the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act which reduced interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans over the following four academic years from 6 8 percent to the current 3 4 percent with the proviso that the rates would revert to 6 8 percent this July Extending the low rate would be too costly Mr Kline said We must now choose between allowing interest rates to rise or piling billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers he said I have serious concerns about any proposal that simply kicks the can down the road and creates more uncertainty in the long run which is what put us in this situation in the first place Mr Kline who earlier this year called the interest rate hike a ticking time bomb set by Democrats said he was exploring other options in hopes of finding a solution that served borrowers and taxpayers equally well When the 2007 law was passed 77 Republicans most of whom are still in Congress voted for it But in the current climate of fractious partisanship new legislation introduced by Representative Joe Courtney to extend the lower rate has 127 co sponsors all of them Democrats Mr Courtney said he was hopeful that some Republican support would be forthcoming as the political stakes became more apparent The visibility of this issue is going to continue to grow as we get closer to the deadline he said The response of students and parents is one of disbelief that interest is going to double at a time when interest rates are so low and I think it s very politically dangerous for Republicans to stonewall this Rich Williams the higher education advocate for U S Public Interest Research Group said he thought about 14 moderate Republican senators might support the effort to keep the interest rates down This should be a bipartisan issue he said It s something everyone gets Outside Congress even some of the strongest student aid advocates debate the question While nearly everyone is in favor of the broad goal of college affordability some experts point out that even 6 8 percent is lower than the rate on most private student loans And they question whether it is worth risking cutbacks in the Pell program for low income students one possible consequence of using more federal money to keep interest rates low on the Stafford loans which are in wide use by middle income students About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/media/sp/new-york-times-student-loan-interest-rates-loom-political-battle (2016-04-29)
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  • Students Endorse New Senate Plan for Affordable Textbooks | INPIRG
    inclusion of online codes and CDs are just a few ways that publishers increase costs for students who are stuck buying whatever textbook they re assigned Fortunately the solution is already available Open licensed textbooks are faculty written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks but are free online free to download and affordable in print The cost saving potential of open textbooks is massive If just one professor uses one open source textbook in one class of one hundred it would save students 10 000 If just ten professors use one open textbook they ll save students approximately 100 000 Additionally open textbooks allow professors to remix their course materials adding removing chapters to create a book that more appropriately fits the way they wish to teach Today s bill harnesses the power of technology and innovation to bring college within reach for more and more students The act creates a competitive grant program for colleges and universities to develop review and adopt open source textbooks placing the highest priority on pilot programs that generate significant cost savings for students We applaud Senators Durbin and Franken for standing up for students and championing open textbooks INPIRG is an independent statewide student organization that works on issues like environmental protection consumer protection and hunger and homelessness About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/news/in/students-endorse-new-senate-plan-affordable-textbooks (2016-04-29)
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  • FDA Delays are Putting American Lives at Risk from Unsafe Food | INPIRG
    protect us from the contaminants that are putting American lives at risk According to recall information compiled by the Food and Drug Administration FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service FSIS from October 2012 to October 2013 there were 1 494 foodborne Illnesses reported 335 hospitalizations due to foodborne illness 2 deaths 615 incidences of Salmonella linked to food products and 643 incidences of Cyclospora linked to food products The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011 with strong support from INPIRG consumer groups and public health groups The law was designed to give the FDA new tools and new powers to protect consumers However the Act is still not being fully implemented and our foods remain unsafe We need a food safety system that is fully funded and fully staffed so it can stop unsafe food from reaching our dinner tables said Sprague We must move away from the current reactive approach where recalls happen after dangerous products have already made it into families kitchens and focus on prevention The Food Safety Modernization Act should be fully implemented and the Administration should not waste any more time in strengthening our food safety systems The report is available at http inpirg org reports in food safety scares 2013 About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/news/in/fda-delays-are-putting-american-lives-risk-unsafe-food (2016-04-29)
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  • Food Safety Scares 2013 | INPIRG
    standards and inspections that could significantly improve food safety have been blocked underfunded or delayed allowing the drumbeat of disease outbreaks to continue According to recall information compiled by the Food and Drug Administration FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service FSIS from October 2012 to October 2013 there were 1 494 foodborne Illnesses linked to recalls of food products 335 hospitalizations due to recalled food products 2 deaths linked to recalls of food products 615 incidences of Salmonella linked to recalls of food products and 643 incidences of Cyclospora linked to recalls of food products This report offers a snapshot look from October 2012 to October 2013 at multistate foodborne illness outbreaks identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC Failures in the rules and processes that protect our food supply have led to numerous serious outbreaks over the past year that left many Americans sickened and at least 2 dead The economic cost of just the multistate outbreaks caused by food products recalled over the past 12 months comes to more than 22 million About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable U Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports 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 RSS Contact Reports by Campaign Student Consumer Action Network 21st Century Transportation Make Textbooks Affordable Make Textbooks Affordable Stop Subsidizing Obesity Newsroom Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Students in Action Student

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/reports/in/food-safety-scares-2013 (2016-04-29)
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  • Top Student Tips for Bypassing Healthcare.gov Glitches and Getting Enrolled | INPIRG
    Health Insurance Now What Indiana Health Insurance 101 INPIRG s outreach is part of their statewide education campaign this year reaching out to students with facts about the changing health insurance landscape and tips to help them find the right coverage for themselves Many college students are uninsured and for many more losing coverage is just around the corner when they graduate or turn 26 said Sprague It s critical for students and other young people to get the information they need to make smart decisions Through the project INPIRG s staff and volunteers are distributing information such as the new guide doing presentations for campus groups and partnering with faculty members and health centers to share practical information with students For insurance plans beginning January 1 2014 insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre existing conditions and most people will be required to have insurance coverage or pay a fee Through the new health insurance marketplace consumers can compare plans and find out about financial help to lower the cost of insurance It s important to remember that there is still plenty of time to enroll said Sprague Applications need to be in by December 15 for coverage to begin in January and the six month open enrollment period goes through March 2014 INPIRG works to protect consumers and promote good government We investigate problems craft solutions educate the public and offer meaningful opportunities for civic participation Visit us at www inpirg org About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments IU Chapter Get Involved Action Center Campaign Resources Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campus Internships Volunteer on Campus Campaigns 21st Century Transportation Affordable Higher Education Democracy Hunger and Homelessness Make Textbooks Affordable New Voters Project Stop Subsidizing Obesity Student Consumer Action Network Sustainable

    Original URL path: http://inpirg.org/news/in/top-student-tips-bypassing-healthcaregov-glitches-and-getting-enrolled (2016-04-29)
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