Put Students Before Fees

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Statement of Christine Lindstrom, U.S. PIRG Higher Education Program Director, on today’s GAO report on campus debit cards:

"Today’s GAO report, entitled College Debit Cards:  Actions Needed to Address ATM Access, Student Choice, and Transparency, says it all in the title. Millions of students each year are pushed into bank-backed campus debit card accounts to receive their financial aid, only to pay hefty fees to get at those dollars. Worse, financial firms give campuses a share in the profits that these cards generate off the backs of the lowest income students at the school. If this isn’t a campus rip-off that calls for swift and decision action to safeguard students, then I don’t know what is."

"Next week, the U.S. Department of Education will begin its rulemaking process to determine what action should be taken. As a negotiator, I will press for the strongest possible measures that block the aggressive marketing tactics that push student financial aid recipients into these accounts, and that ban the sneaky fees that are hard to avoid. We’ve heard from too many students, at too many campuses, for too long, that these debit cards are not fair."

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