View Full Version : You are CHARGING ME FOR MY OWN MONEY?!?

11-26-2011, 01:20 AM
So I am in the last year of college. Its been a fun adventure studying Mechanical Engineering these last five years. I started when I was 26 and can't wait to just be done. Only I just learned of a "great" new thing the school is forcing on students.

I regularly pay my tuition early even though the GI Bill would kick in just before the late fees would occur. As a result, every semester I would get a refund of around $4.5K Yeah...I could just wait for the government to send off the money, but I was always paranoid there could be an issue so I would send off the money in full, early.

Well the school is now forcing students into a campus E-card from this out of state company "HigherOne". I can't get my money unless I enroll in the program. So I took the five or ten minutes it takes to google the company...and my freaking god...what a scam. Just to be sure, I went to the HigherOne site and spent about an hour reading through the actual contract that users have to agree with...and its a mess. Basically for me, because I would only use the company to get my refund into my own checking account, I would be getting a $19 a month fee for inactivity. The card itself is basically worthless as they sell it like a debit card, but if you use it as one, you get a 50 cent a transaction fee. That's just scratching the surface as the more a I read, basically this company nickle and dimes consumers at every turn.

Arguing with my school, they claim that I cannot opt out of this...which makes no sense as I never agreed to participate to begin with. This company basically exists to rip off kids by charging them fees and interest on money they are already paying interest on. It amazes me that this sort of stuff is allowed.

Has anyone had experience with this crap company?

11-26-2011, 02:13 AM
That would seriously piss me off. In fact, it would piss me off so badly I'd be looking into switching schools, even if transferring credits would be difficult. Is this a community college, or private? If it's a public college, I'd recommend contacting your State senator about the issue.

Does this mean that, if you *don't* pay tuition early, you won't have to get the card? How much are the late fees? More than $20 a month for the number of months you'd have to be subscribed to the card?

11-26-2011, 03:16 AM
yup, my college uses that card. I wasn't aware that I was being charged an inactivity fee for having my refund sent to my bank account, however.

11-26-2011, 10:31 PM
You know what....I would tip off a local news station. Anonymously, perhaps, but frankly if the college doesn't put a stop to this based on your complaints, maybe some negative publicity would help them change their minds. 'Cause that is serously messed up.

11-26-2011, 10:55 PM
Mom's CC tried doing that and enough students started paying late to NOT have money put on the card that they were loosing money by the contract not being fullfilled.

11-27-2011, 12:23 AM
...they claim that I cannot opt out of this...
Can you say "Bribery of School Officials"?;)
Or can your newspaper?

11-27-2011, 01:17 AM
Hmm. That may not even be legal, depending on whether it's like those debit cards some employers give their employees instead of paychecks. I know that by law, THOSE companies cannot charge you for the first transaction, so as long as you debit all the funds into your account after getting paid, you're golden. I don't know how the law differs in this situation, though. I would definitely check, though. Call the Dept. of Education and ask about the legality of this move.

11-27-2011, 01:41 AM
My present college uses that card; we have a combined student ID/debit card. I couldn't get financial aid (apparently, all that I qualified for were loans and seeing as I'm already buried under a student loan I didn't want to take one out just for a year) so haven't actually used the bank card part of it. They do claim that students/parents can load money from a bank account on the card, but I'm not giving that company any more info then I need to.

11-27-2011, 01:52 AM
Call the card company and double check. I think we have a similar card company if not the same and the inactivity fee kicks in when people do not use the card but leave a balance on there. You can choose to instead have it automatically transferred to your banking account.

11-27-2011, 02:06 AM
Call the card company and double check. I think we have a similar card company if not the same and the inactivity fee kicks in when people do not use the card but leave a balance on there. You can choose to instead have it automatically transferred to your banking account.

I was going to say this too. I also have it, but I usually just pull all the money out or transfer when I can.

11-28-2011, 12:37 AM
Yeah it looks like I can just contact a third party company, give them all my private banking information, and they then return my money that they should have never had access to. F- this crap. I am showing up to school tomorrow and not leaving until I get my check.

Ironclad Alibi
11-28-2011, 07:05 PM
File a complaint with the FTC. Also, send a letter to your congressmen saying you PETITION them to investigate this obviously fraudulent scheme.

11-30-2011, 01:43 AM

So, everything straightened out?

11-30-2011, 01:55 AM
My school uses that one too. I haven't had a problem with it. Once I noticed the 50 cent charges for debit transactions I only ran it as credit. Next semester I plan on withdrawing everything and dropping it into my bank account.however, I have not been notified of any inactivity charges. I'll check that out.