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Student ID cards converted to debit cards may add debt for students

Controversy has sparked among student bodies across the country as a growing number of colleges make deals with banks to activate student IDs as debit cards.

Under their contracts with banks, large universities can generate up to $1 million in revenue a year, USA Today found.

Universities that have converted student IDs into debit cards, such as Portland State University in Oregon, earn money when students swipe their cards and profit based on how much money students keep in their accounts, USA Today said.

At Portland State, hundreds of students protested the new system.

Ryan Klute, a graduate student at Portland State, told USA Today that “it’s a bad idea when the university and the company have a vested interest in you spending your money so they can make money off you.”

Banks may be hoping to seal long-lasting ties with students by partnering with their respective schools.

“You’d hope that if we have established a relationship with an individual in college, when they go to buy the first car, their first house, they would think of us,” said Steve Dale, a spokesman for U.S. Bank.

The University of Minnesota said it uses that revenue for student services, including scholarships and late-night buses.

Still, some argue that the introduction of student ID debit cards will ultimately add more debt for students because of expensive overdraft fees. Such fees cost consumers $17.5 billion a year, estimates the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer advocacy group.

“Given the debt loads students have, the last thing a university should be doing is adding more debt to a student’s life, and that’s what overdraft fees do,” said Eric Halperin, director of the center’s Washington office.

– Chelsea Kate Isaacs

Residential colleges sponsor Relay for Life teams

Stanford, Hecht and Mahoney Residential Colleges are sponsoring teams for this year’s Relay for Life April 5 from 2 p.m. to midnight at Cobb Stadium. Students can sign up or learn more about the event at their residential college’s front desk.

Hosted by the American Cancer Society, the daylong event is open to the public and will feature live bands, games such as capture the flag, and personal tents for relay groups.

So far, Stanford’s 20 members have collected more than $800, but team members hope to raise more money by selling shirts for $8. The team also hopes to recruit participants by inviting students to join the team’s online page: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/stanford.

“If the 900 people in Stanford donate $100 each, that’s over $9,000,” Stanford Resident Assistant Matt Radding said. “Come together, help raise awareness and prove that everybody can make a difference.”

-Christina De Nicola

New art exhibit at Lowe

This month the Lowe Art Museum’s Tribal Arts Society is presenting “Monumental Myths of the Northwest Coast Totem Pole.”

Aldona Jonaitis, the director of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Museum of the North, spoke at the exhibit’s opening ceremonies Wednesday night and discussed the history of totem poles from their pre-European contact origins to modern day.

– Kendra Zdravkovic

Etc.

The Ibis Yearbook received its third Gold Crown Award since 2004 from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The Miami Hurricane is a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker award. The winner will be announced in the fall.

UM Ambassadors, the official liaison between students and the Alumni Association, are selecting new members based on UM spirit and campus involvement. Get an application at http://www6.miami.edu/alumni/students/amb_recruitment.htm and submit it (in hard copy to the Alumni House or via fax) to Sarah Rogers, director of the Alumni Programs, Office of Alumni Relations, 1550 Brescia Avenue, by March 28 at 5 p.m.

March 27, 2008

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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