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Congresswoman Clarke Works to Protect Students from Unfair Banking Practices

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has asked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to protect students from unfair banking practices, including campus-sponsored debit cards that are often on unfair terms for student  and to preserve the integrity of federal student aid programs.

The proposed revisions, discussed in the letter sent by twenty-three members of the House of Representatives and three members of the Senate, would allow students deposit federal financial aid into their personal accounts without delay or penalty, prohibit agreements between colleges and banks to offer debit cards or other financial products that charge fees associated with federal aid, offer students the best information on accessing their federal student aid, and require colleges to provide information on the internet about any agreements with banks, and report the information to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“The federal student aid program should have only the purpose of increasing access to higher education for students who could not otherwise afford to tuition  payments. The program does not exist to increase the revenues of banks or other financial institutions or to provide opportunities for colleges to reach agreements with banks that undermine the finances of their students, such as debit cards endorsed by colleges that change exorbitant fees,” said Congresswoman Clarke, one of only thirty-one members of the House of Representatives who voted in opposition to higher student loan rates enacted by the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. “In recent years, as the incomes of most American families have remained the same or even declined, the cost of college has continued to increase. Only with the assistance of grants and student loans – have students had the ability to afford tuition. We should not allow colleges to exploit them for profit.”

U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.