Higher One, the only provider of customized financial services dedicated exclusively to the higher education market, today announced a contract with the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse to provide comprehensive disbursement, banking and debit card services to the university community. UW–La Crosse is the third University of Wisconsin institution to adopt Higher One’s program. UW–Stout and UW–Parkside also have the program.
Beginning in the first summer term of 2004, Higher One will provide electronic funds disbursement and banking services through a new school ID card. UW–La Crosse’s students, faculty and staff will be able to use their new university branded ID card – the Tower OneCard – for primary bank access, retrieving cash from ATMs, making purchases on and off campus, transferring money electronically and monitoring their accounts online on a new University-branded web site. Higher One’s services include OneDisburseSM, a completely new way of handling refund disbursements to students, and OneFinanceSM, a suite of financial services including the OneAccount free checking account, the OneCard, and the OneRewards program that earns points for purchases at participating local merchants.
“Higher One is pleased that the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse has chosen us to implement and manage a leading-edge disbursements and banking service for its community,” said Dean Hatton, President and CEO of Higher One. “Our goal has always been to help universities reduce administrative costs, streamline business processes, increase revenue opportunities, improve the
student experience and strengthen the campus community.”
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HIGHER ONE PROVIDES DISBURSEMENT SERVICESTO UW–LA CROSSE …Add One
Additionally, the Tower OneCard will enable students to choose any of three options to receive their financial aid and other refunds and sign up for payroll direct deposit with two-clicks. The choices for refunds include deposit to the OneAccount checking account, ACH to another bank checking account, or a paper check. No matter which method the student uses, Higher One makes the payment and handles any errors relating to payments – creating cost avoidance for the university and increasing customer service.
With money in a OneAccount, the Tower OneCard also serves as a MasterCard Debit Card Tender program, a stored-value account that allows students to use their ID for purchases on accepted at millions of merchants worldwide, and can also be used for the University’s Tower campus. UW-La Crosse will provide Higher One’s proprietary campus autoload feature that enables automatic transfers from a student’s OneAccount to the Tower Tender program whenever the balance falls below a pre-set level. The University anticipates this feature will increase on-campus spending through the Tower Tender program.
“Students and parents need a system that can help them manage their campus finances better,”
said Sharon Radke, UW-La Crosse’s Controller. “The new Tower OneCard program will benefit students by making their financial aid and other refunds available to them faster, and will benefit the university through increased efficiency and cost savings.”
Higher education’s interest in electronic fund disbursement and banking is increasing as schools seek to lessen the impact of budget cuts by reducing administrative costs, while needing to offer additional value-added services to students. Studies by institutions have found that the cost of each paper disbursement can run as high as $35 per payment. Some universities have approached this issue by offering ACH Direct Deposit of refunds. This method is an improvement, but enrollment usually averages 30 to 35 percent and the institution is burdened by supporting two processes.
Higher One has introduced a new patent pending method for refunds that eliminates check issuance by the university. Called OneDisburse, it creates cost significant avoidance by simplifying business and compliance processes and increasing service and convenience for students. With the benefits associated, it is no surprise it is being looked at as a new standard of service for refund disbursement in higher education.
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HIGHER ONE PROVIDES DISBURSEMENT SERVICES TO UW –LA CROSSE …Add Two
Offered with OneDisburse is the OneFinance service enabling universities to offer a suite of banking services to students, faculty, and staff through their ID card. These include a free checking account, MasterCard Debit Card purchasing power, university-branded web site, and rewards program tied to local merchants. Higher One customizes every program to meet the unique needs of each school and absorbs the most significant costs of implementation.
Since 2001 Higher One has become the standard of service for American higher education institutions looking for the most efficient, student-centric, and cost-effective way of disbursing financial refunds. In the first semester of 2004, Higher One processed over $50 million in financial aid and other refunds eliminating over 30,000 checks for its university clients. A mid-size university of 15,000 can typically create $500,000 per year in cost avoidance through Higher One’s OneDisburse and OneFinance services. Higher One added seven universities as clients in 2003.