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NACUBO calls PIRG report misleading

College business officers say a recently released report of the Public Interest Research Group “fails to adequately recognize that students have a choice in deciding where and how to manage personal banking and financial transactions and that campus cards are offered by campuses for service, convenience, and security.”

The statement was released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers in response to the PIRG report called “The Campus Debit Card Trap: Are Bank Partnerships Fair to Students?” It alleges that banks and other financial service companies charge hidden fees to manage a student’s university-issued debit/campus ID card.

NACUBO added that it “strongly encourages campuses to identify banking services that offer low- or no-fee options for students and endorses transparency and full disclosure in marketing financial products and services to college students.”

It went on to say that “institutions’ continuing efforts to contain college costs include effective cost management and streamlining administrative services. The (PIRG) report misleads readers to believe that campuses profit by providing electronic refunds of student financial aid dollars.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, R-Ill., said he “will be working in Washington to put an end to the unreasonable practices highlighted in this (PIRG) report…”

In addition, a lawsuit has been filed over the report. A California resident and college student claims financial services provider Higher One “deceptively assessed bank fees” and that the “plaintiff and other Higher One account holders nationwide, were deceived into using a Higher One account in order to access their college financial aid money…then subsequently charged unfair and improperly disclosed bank fees.”

Here’s a link to the press release from the Washington, D.C. law firm which filed the class action suit.

For more on the NACUBO statement, Senator Durbin’s statement and the PIRG report, go here.

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