Higher One hires Salem lobbyist

Higher One has hired a lobbyist to work with legislators in Salem on Senate Bill 643 and has recommended that the bill contain an amendment requiring schools to offer an automatic deposit option for disbursement of financial aid.

Higher One is the Connecticut-based company that has taken over all financial aid disbursements at PSU. The company also offers a student ID, called the OneCard, that can also function as a debit card.

Originally drafted to thwart Oregon universities’ controversial contract with Higher One, Bill 643 now focuses on student privacy and was passed by the Senate last month. It would prevent state universities from releasing social security numbers without students’ permission. While Higher One currently does not require that students give their social security number, the card activation web site asks for it.

“We felt like we should have a voice in the process as well,” Higher One marketing director Sean Glass said. “Ultimately we would want a bill that protects students’ privacy but still allows us to offer our services.”

While a bill amendment requiring an automatic transfer option has not been presented in any official fashion, Glass said that he thinks it would benefit Higher One because more schools may look to the company to provide that service and that students would have more choices.

“More options are good for students,” he said.

George Okulitch of the Tresidder Company, who registered as a lobbyist for Higher One last month, was unavailable for comment at press time.

-Treasure Porth