Durbin urges Dept. of Education to examine student debit card fees

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), along with several other congressional groups, sent letters to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education expressing concern about the impact of debit card agreements on college students.


A report released last week reveals that more than nine million college students across America could be adversely affected by fees associated with their debit cards.

“At a time when total U.S. student loan debt is reaching the $1 trillion mark, we should not allow costly inappropriate debit card fees to add to that debt,” Durbin and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) said in the letter.

Debit cards can be used by schools to disburse academic loan refunds to students, though the study found that almost 1,000 colleges in the U.S., including 32 of the 50 largest public universities, are steering students towards the use of campus debit cards that often come with costly and unnecessary bank fees. Some of the fees include PIN debit fees, balance inquiry fees, abandoned account fees, account closure fees and reloading fees.

“Accordingly, we have opened inquiries into the use of these cards and urge you to examine actions the Department of Education can take swiftly to ensure students are adequately protected from the deceptive and predatory practices identified by U.S. PIRG,” Durbin, and Miller said.