CLEVELAND - College students are finding they can get their financial aid refund a lot quicker if they opt to have it put on a bank debit card. However, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is warning them to be aware of the fees that may be attached.
"Too many students have been slammed with hidden fees and penalties that cut into their already-limited financial aid dollars," Brown said.
Cleveland State student Shaka Gray is already seeing the fees starting to mount on his student aid card issued by Higher One.
"If you swipe, that charges you $1.50 I think it is," he said. "I'm always at a gas station so I always get charged a dollar more for that."
Senator Brown said he wrote a letter to Higher One urging them to be more transparent with students and to "knock it off with some of their fees."
He said the company has card agreements with 4.3 million students nationwide and siphoned fees from student aid disbursement cards totaling $142.5 million in 2011.
However, in a written statement, Higher One said, "There are absolutely no hidden fees and students are made aware of all of their options and the fee structure up front---NO FINE PRINT, so they can manage their money wiser."
Students are not required to use the debit card. They can get a paper check or have their money direct deposited into their existing bank account for free.
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