Alumni face ‘abandonement’ fees without cancellation
By: Ashley Higginbotham
-Asst. News Editor-
When a student leaves STLCC-Meramec, whether to graduate or transfer, his or her Higher One student card account does not. The account remains open unless a student initiates the process to close it.
The service, initiated by STLCC in 2006, includes an indentification (ID) system and a valid credit card is available for students free of charge. However, when a new student opens a Higher One account, the student must click to accept the “fee schedule,” which can also be found on the Higher One website at http://higherone.com. When students are no longer enrolled, a monthly fee will be assessed from the account if guidelines are not met, according to Lauren Perry, student communications manager at Higher One.
“The only guidelines for keeping your account free are if you are a student at STLCC or if a balance of at least $100 is kept in the account,” Perry said. “Our priority is to higher education, and we are always geared toward the student.”
The monthly fee for not meeting guidelines is $3.95. The fee will keep occurring until the account is emptied or the student withdraws the entire balance. In addition, students are also charged 50 cents per transaction when using the Higher One card as debit, according to the Higher One website.
“It can only bring the account to zero so it won’t overdraft the account,” Perry said. “Some students use it as their primary checking account and it is a great option for new account holders.”
Perry said that Higher One is “very transparent” and does not possess hidden fees. However, the website stipulates that a monthly deposit of $100 must be placed into the account in order to avoid the $3.95 fee. The Terms and Conditions and Related Disclosures posted on the Higher One website note that an abandoned account fee of an undisclosed amount will be assessed from the account once no activity has been recorded for six months.
A student does have the option of closing the account when leaving STLCC, but it is not required. In order for students to close their account, they must contact customer service. Student can call the number found on the back of the Higher One card or tweet @Askhigherone for more information and assistance. The Higher One staff is available Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and answer tweets Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-7 p.m., according to the website.