U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) expressed their concern this week over debit card agreements between financial institutions and universities.
The two sent letters on Thursday to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, urging them to carefully examine bank-affiliated student debit card practices at more than 900 colleges and universities.
The letters were prompted by a report released last week from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. According to the report, more than 9 million students are potentially subject to numerous fees as a result of agreements between their college or university and a financial institution.
“At a time when total U.S. student loan debt is reaching the $1 trillion mark, we should not allow costly and inappropriate debit card fees to add to that debt,” Durbin and Miller wrote.
The report listed four credit unions among the financial organizations that have agreements with the nation’s largest four-year public universities: the $728 million Indiana University Credit Union in Bloomington, Ind., the $1.5 billion University of Wisconsin Credit Union in Madison, Wis., the $802 million Utah Community Credit Union in Provo, Utah, and the $1.2 billion Elevations Credit Union in Boulder, Colo.
Some of the fees highlighted by the report include PIN debit fees, balance inquiry fees, inactive account fees, account closure fees and reloading fees.