Senate discusses ‘un-bankable’ students with Financial Aid

WILSON HARTSOCK, Channels Staff

Director of Financial Aid, Brad Hardison, came to educate the Associated Student Senate about cash management last Friday.

Hardison was recently nominated and selected to take the position as representative for all two-year institutions in the United States. He has been attending meetings in Washington D.C. with the Board of Education, discussing issues concerning Financial Aid.

Cash management refers to the way students receive financial aid on campus. Currently, City College’s methods seem to be the best option.

“Giving students a choice of a check or a direct deposit is the best way to deliver aid to students given their individual circumstances,” Hardison said.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers did a survey in 2012 and concluded that 84 percent of college campuses prefer to mail a paper check to their students. Fifty-eight percent agreed that an electronic transfer of funds to a students account is the best option available.

City College gives the students a choice between a paper check and an electronic transfer of funds.

“The idea of having electronic transfer just makes is so much easier, something I don’t have to think about,” said Associated Student Senate President Ellie Katzenson. “Checks are out of style.”

There is an issue with these delivery methods for students who do not have bank accounts for various reasons and are “un-bankable.” This causes the issue of third-party businesses skimming money off the top of students’ financial aid from the government.

“Students that have checks that don’t have bank accounts are in many cases forced to go to a check cashing service,” said Hardison. “There’s a fee for that and that’s an issue.”

In order to solve this problem City College would have to do business with local banks to offer this service to students.

Hardison said that the relationship between a bank and a college campus is more of a rare occurrence, and that more typically colleges will partner with third-party companies.

Companies like this offer some of the same issues regarding fees that check cashing services offer.

Hardison prefers City College’s methods of aid distribution and has no plans to change any time soon but will look into what can be done for the “un-bankable” students.

“We have some students that don’t believe in banks and think that banks are bad,” said Hardison. “And we’ll have to accommodate for that as well.”