Numerous students said Monday that they would have preferred alocal bank to handle financial aid rather than outsourcing toHigherOne.
The recent public announcement that PSU has partnered with thecompany, which provides checking accounts that students can link tonew student ID cards, has had a cold reception from many students.The program officially launches Nov. 15.
The new ID cards can be linked to checking accounts thatstudents can use for financial aid disbursements. The bank handlingthe accounts is located in Texas and is overseen by HigherOne inConnecticut. To activate the ID card, students must go online toregister. There, they have the option to open a checking accountwith Higher One.
Last week, student government spearheaded a student boycott ofthe OneCard, asking students to refuse to sign up for the company’sOneAccount bank accounts.
Hundreds of students have already joined the boycott in hopes offorcing the university to either cancel its contract withHigherOne, or changing the agreement to one that better favorsstudents.
The main student concern with HigherOne appears to be over thechecking accounts, which charge 50 cents for each debit transactionthat requires users to enter their PIN. Also, there will be onlythree HigherOne ATMs, all located on PSU, that will not charge afee.
“PSU thinks it will free up some hassle and cost the universityless,” said Myron Kingsbury, production director at KPSU. “But itcosts the students money because we have to pay fees toHigherOne.”
Lisa Ward, a staff member in the Multicultural Center,disagrees. Since the web site has the debit account activation boxautomatically marked, Ward believes that many busy students willoverlook this step.
“Default is not a choice. I wouldn’t have as much of a problemwith the new ID cards if the web site didn’t make opening a debitaccount default,” Ward explained. “PSU shouldn’t bring big businessinto the university. I don’t want a corporate education.”
Not all students are concerned about the new cards, however.
Niti Patel, who also works in the Multicultural Center, is notopposed to the switch. “[The PSU OneCard] is just a new ID card,what’s the big deal? You don’t have to open a debit account if youdon’t want it, like a normal bank account. It’s progress forPSU.”
The specific details of the new PSU OneCards has also been amajor source of confusion for students. Currently, informationabout the cards is only available in English and some think it isnot specific enough.
Jamie Hogue, member of the campus chapter of OSPIRG, believesthat students are not receiving enough information. “With somethingthis major, students need to have input and be made aware of theplans. I’m very active on campus, I go to meetings, but I stillfeel like I know so little about the new ID cards. The generalstudent probably has no idea what’s going on.”
Tony Rasmussen, Communications Director for Associated Studentsof PSU (ASPSU), has been putting together a mailing list to sendout information about the cards. “ASPSU is involved but this is astudent-run campaign. Over 1,000 students have boycotted the new IDcards and more are being added everyday.”
To join ASPSU’s mailing list about Higher one, visithttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/psu_id_card