Higher Ed

News Release | Student PIRGs | Consumer Protection, Higher Ed, Student Debt

Banks Skim Millions in Fees from Student Aid Using Debit-Card-Linked Student IDs

Washington, D.C. – Over 9 million students are at risk for increased educational debt, due to bank-affiliated student debit cards that come with high fees, insufficient consumer protections, and few options. Financial institutions now have affinity partnerships with almost 900 campuses nationwide, grafting bank products onto student IDs and other campus cards to become the primary recipient of billions in federal financial aid to distribute to students.

The Campus Debit Card Trap

Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards. In addition to on-campus services, such as student ID functions offered on the card, some cards offer traditional debit card services linked to bank accounts; other cards provide additional reloadable prepaid card functions. The disbursement of financial aid and university refunds is the most significant partnership identified.

There is no 'A' for effort

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Here's my statement on the failure to move debate forward on a bill to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this July.

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Report | U.S. PIRG | Higher Ed

The Cost of College Will Soar if Interest Rates Allowed to Double

The loans distributed by the U.S. Department of Education currently hold an interest rate of 3.4 percent. But that rate is set to double if Congress fails to act by July 1, 2012. If that occurs, millions of students will see their interest rates soar to 6.8 percent on the new loans they take in the next year thereby causing a steep rise in their loan burden and effectively increasing the cost of attaining a college degree.

News Release | Higher Ed

Senators Block Bill to Keep Student Loan Interest Rates From Doubling On July 1

“The bottom line is that this is important to future graduates and their families, it is a top concern among students, and has support from across the political spectrum."

Media Hit | Higher Ed

Obama, Romney focus on student debt as campaign issue

“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.

Media Hit | Higher Ed

New York Times: Student Loan Interest Rates Loom as Political Battle

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.”

News Release | The State PIRGs | Higher Ed

Students to Congress: Don’t Double Student Debt Rates

Washington, D.C. – With the student loan interest rate about to double this July for almost 8 million loan borrowers, INPIRG  and coalition partners deliver over 130,000 letters to Congress urging a different plan.

Groups target textbook prices to rein in college costs

A push to create free or inexpensive textbooks is gaining momentum as educators, philanthropists and policymakers nationwide search for new ways to rein in college costs.

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