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If you can solve three problems all at once, why not just go ahead and do it?

That was the attitude that led The University of Findlay, in northwest Ohio, to adopt Higher One’s OneDisburse Refund Management system and at the same time make the Higher One OneCard its universal student ID and have the company disburse student payroll.

 

If you are considering streamlining refund delivery, enhancing student services and reducing expenses, now is the time to act because the U.S. Department of Education has validated and encouraged the use of bank debit cards for refund delivery.

When Vincennes University introduced the Blazer OneCard on its three Indiana campuses a year ago, students and parents were skeptical. Why, they wanted to know, was the university asking students to carry a MasterCard?

But as university officials found out, a little education goes a long way, and the skepticism was quickly replaced with a high degree of satisfaction. The idea for the Blazer OneCard emerged from the university’s decision to streamline the cumbersome process of issuing financial aid refunds so students could get their money more quickly and safely, according to Vincennes University Bursar Lori Hostetler.

 

Yes. Every OneAccount is insured by the FDIC, currently for amounts up to $250,000. In addition, student refunds are protected by FDIC insurance from the moment a school authorizes payment until the funds are deposited in the student’s bank account, regardless of where the student banks.

Blinn College has been in the business of educating students since 1883, a point of pride for its administrators. Even as it honors its pioneering roots, the college also has evolved to meet the needs of students. Founded initially to train young men for the ministry, Blinn became the first county-owned junior college in Texas and one of the largest of the state’s 50 community/junior college districts.

 

Our process was pretty much like everybody else’s. It was all about paper and very time consuming.

 

For students at Sam Houston State University, a slim wallet-size card is the key to getting financial aid refunds, a paycheck from a campus job, access to the dorm, a good book , a good meal and more.

Until last January, issuing financial aid refunds at Antelope Valley College was a long, tedious process. Instruction files were sent from the school to a remote district office, which printed checks and sent them back to the school to be stuffed into envelopes and mailed to students.

It was a time-consuming and costly procedure, explained Sherrie Padilla, director of financial aid at the community college, located in Lancaster, Calif. “We needed to investigate other ways to disburse refunds to students,” she said.

 

Yes. Every OneAccount is insured by the FDIC, currently for amounts up to $250,000. In addition, student refunds are protected by FDIC insurance from the moment a school authorizes payment until the funds are deposited in the student’s bank account, regardless of where the student banks.

 

Issuing refunds from financial aid and tuition overpayments to students used to be a time-consuming and labor-intensive affair at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), just as it is at many colleges and universities. Inefficiency was only part of the problem. Students moved often, and checks were regularly late or lost.

When it comes to collecting tuition, it usually doesn't pay to have your university's payment solution on autopilot.

There are many software tools available for scheduling and processing tuition payments. But what happens if a student adds a class unexpectedly, or is assessed additional or unexpected fees? Many software solutions can't adjust on the fly and school officials are the ones who end up spending extra time untangling the mess.

 

Welcome to the second Streamlined of 2009! My colleagues and I are proud to continue this series of publications designed to inform college and university administrators about new and innovative methods of streamlining business office operations.

 

Pennsylvania College of Technology has always used in-house programmers to develop its administrative and enrollment programs with great success. At one time the college was even considering designing its own electronic refund system.

So when Higher One approached Penn College, to gauge interest in an electronic refund management system, Eric Ranck, the college’s manager of cash and investments, was wary.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.

Charles Dickens penned the opening lines of "A Tale of Two Cities" to describe French Revolutionary times, but they could easily apply to the modern world of student refunds. Or, more specifically, to two of the primary alternatives to paper checks.

One is simple, secure and smart. The other can be convoluted, controversial and painful for students.

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