Ed Dept presses on with student aid debit card pilot

educationdive | October 22, 2019

The U.S. Department of Education has reportedly chosen four universities and three financial services companies to pilot a prepaid debit card that students can use to pay for nontuition expenses out of their federal financial aid awards, according to Politico. However, officials at the chosen universities — Purdue, U of Georgia, Jackson State and U of California Riverside — told Politico that while they wouldn't prohibit their students from participating, they also wouldn't endorse it. The proposal has raised questions about how the data will be shared and whether students' use of the funds will be restricted, the publication noted. Officials have said they won't limit student spending beyond the bounds of the law and that the data would be aggregated and nonidentifying. The pilot is running behind its initial timeline, which called for participants to be named last December. It uses prepaid cards in an effort to give students an alternative to fee-bearing payment mechanisms and help colleges process student aid refunds faster. Students are expected to use it in much the same way as they would a traditional checking account, including issuing paper checks and accessing ATMs. It would tie into a newly launched mobile app that the department has said will include financial literacy information and let students manage their aid account.

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In this video, Teresa Cain shares advice for prospective students looking to join the Integrated Innovation Institute's online program.

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In this video, Teresa Cain shares advice for prospective students looking to join the Integrated Innovation Institute's online program.

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