With so much scrutiny over campus cards being used as a tool for financial aid disbursement, Heartland Campus Solutions, a division of Heartland Payment Systems and a leading provider of solutions for over 2,000 colleges and universities, decided it was time to re-evaluate their financial aid disbursement solution from the student’s perspective. Heartland recently conducted a survey at ten schools to dig deeper and better understand the needs of their students when it comes to tuition and financial aid refunds.
The survey confirmed that 88.2% of students had a personal bank account, yet they chose the branded, prepaid card as their preferred disbursement method. We looked at the results from a Baby Boomer (10.8% of responses), Generation X (18.4% of responses), and Generation Y (70.8% of responses) perspective and found that the key reasons for acceptance of the card were generally the same across each of these groups.
As to why they chose the prepaid card, 48.7% of the respondents said it was because “It’s easy to use.” The other half of the responses were split between getting their money the same day, no worries about overdrafts, and the fees being lower than their bank accounts.
When asked how many times per week they use their prepaid card, about one-half of the respondents stated they use it at least one time per week. About one quarter said they use theirs at least twice per month. As for the remaining one quarter of the respondents, well, they said they are saving it for a rainy day.
When asked where they used their prepaid card, an overwhelming majority stated that they used their prepaid card for on campus purchases, such as at the bookstore, and for everyday purchases at local and national retailers. Additionally, a large number used their prepaid card for online bill payment or online purchases.
So, what did we learn from this survey? The prepaid card is a beneficial option for refund disbursements. Plastic doesn’t have the same definition that it used to years ago. Today, plastic is part of society and the way that individuals make payments. Plastic doesn’t mean digging yourself into debt, overspending, and getting charged high interest rates. It means being able access your money in a way that is easy in today’s society while being able to spend responsibly. And many students use it to separate their school funds from their everyday funds, allowing them to be more fiscally responsible.
As one respondent summed it up, “Seriously, it’s so much simpler this way!”