The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

March 23, 2014

Iowa needs fresh look at 'college cards'

(Continued)

The University of Northern Iowa does not offer any ATM/debit/credit or bank account to students, said spokeswoman Lindsay Cunningham. “We require students to provide us their bank account information if they want to receive funds electronically, but these are the accounts that they have established with the banking institution of their choice.”

“Many students trust their schools and, as a result, may view co-branding as an endorsement and an indication their school has negotiated the best terms for them,” the GAO report said. But are they a better option than what a credit union or a different bank might offer? Do new students assume they should simply get in line at orientation to sign up for an account because other students are doing so?

Harkin has raised concerns about the lack of transparency for students and families when it comes to the agreements schools have with financial institutions.

The schools should post these contracts online. In fact, they should post all bids received from financial institutions seeking to facilitate such accounts.

Iowans need assurances the schools are focused on providing the best deal to students, not gaining the most revenue.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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