Student loans: HigherOne, students and RCC
Mar 5 2013
By Jason Haberman
At the start of each new quarter, students search for their new classes. They buy books, calculators, pencils, pens and paper and all of the other paraphernalia necessary for attending those classes. And a majority of the students at Rogue Community College deal with money loaned to them so that they can attend school.
Every year, 12 million students—about 60 percent of the United States student population—use student loans to attend college.
RCC participates with a variety of student grants and loans, and they use a company by the name of HigherOne to distribute their loan funds.
Lisa Stanton, chief financial officer for RCC, spent quite a while researching the various options available to the students and finally settled on four choices:
- A local bank
- A loan organization
- Keeping the distribution in house
- An online financial service company
In an interview, Stanton emphasized in researching the options that her primary
goal was to assure “student safety…and cost effectiveness.”
She said that having dealt with lost and stolen checks, replacement times of up to 10 days and the frustration of being unable to replace lost funds made finding a secure sight for Rogue students of utmost importance.
“That made keeping the distribution in-house impossible,” Stanton said. “We have excellent security for our student information; however, we do not have the higher security to protect student information that a bank would have.”
The consideration of cost was equally important. According to Stanton, it costs approximately $7.00 to issue a check. After speaking with institutions that did have the distribution in house and finding it was a full time job, she realized that that cost would have to be passed on to the students and the tax payers.
That was unacceptable and “in-house” was rejected. The bank and the loan organization had drawbacks that would directly affect the students and their access to the funds which made them unappealing and they were rejected as well.
Stanton spoke with several institutions that used HigherOne and found some very positive statistics, among them: online access, immediate access to funds, and full banking amenities available to all students.
She also emphasized that although HigherOne banking is available to all students, there is nothing that forces the student to use HigherOne for their student loan banking.
RCC receives the financial aid and student loan money. RCC then wires that money to HigherOne. HigherOne disburses that money to a HigherOne checking account or to any account that has been indicated by the student. The primary benefit of a HigherOne account is immediate access to loan funds.
A transfer to another account is made by HigherOne can take as long as five days if a week-end or holiday is involved.
Looking in to the fees, amenities and the mechanics of the loan are often lost in the confusion of starting a new quarter; however, taking the initiative to make some solid decisions on where the funds are to be placed can save money, time and frustration. Not caring or taking the time can cost upwards of $200 a year and that $200 would not be used by the student.
A few of the important issues to decide are:
- Do you want a checking account?
- Do you want to be able to access BillPay?
- Do you want to be able to write checks?
- Do you want an ATM card?
- Do you want email alerts on deposit?
- Do you want instant access to you money or would a 24-72 hour delay be OK?
- What fees are you willing to pay?
To show some examples, we accessed “Find A Better Bank” at http://www.findabetterbank.com and followed the instructions. In addition to the above questions, we requested accounts especially for students, and second chance accounts.
Also, we requested surcharge free ATM or rebate of outside bank surcharge fees and 24-hour automated banking service. The banks were chosen at random and with no specific order. They definitely show that not all bank fees are created equal and for more information and to protect your loans, take the time to look at the accounts available. These are your loans and your responsibility and in the long run, taking the time now will same money later.
To view a comparison of local banks, click here: Bank comparison
Jason Haberman is a student in J225-Introduction to Journalism.
Short URL: http://roguebyline.com/?p=2567