My name is Amy Duong and I am your Higher One Campus Education Specialist with the Coast Community College District. I am proud to say that I am an alumna of Orange Coast and also took courses at Golden West and Coastline.

I recently read an article in the Coast Report, “Don’t let Higher One be your pimp” and was disappointed to hear about the dissatisfaction at my former college. Being an advocate of both Coast, the Coast Community College District and Higher One, I wanted to address the article and offer some clarification.

Higher One encourages students to choose the refund option that works best for them. When the Higher One card is distributed, it is simply a tool for the student to select how they would like to receive their refund – by paper check, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer to a third party bank account, or deposited to an optional Higher One checking account that the student would open. Each option is clearly explained.

The article describes the ACH transfer preference to be difficult due to a required ‘print, sign and return’ form. This form is known as a prenote and is vital for the safety of every student account. A prenote is an electronic zero dollar transaction that must be sent through the ACH Network at least six calendar days prior to disbursing any refund dollars (your bank may also process the check for one to three days).

 The prenote allows Higher One to confirm that your account information has been entered correctly. It verifies the routing and account numbers, and detects any problems with your bank transit. We take your safety and security seriously.

With respect to fees, the Higher One checking account is designed to be used at no cost to students. The fee schedule is embedded at the footer of every Higher One account page. Fees are described in detail, but more important to you is the column which explains how to prevent each fee.

The PIN-based transaction fee can be avoided simply by choosing “credit” and signing for the receipt.

Higher One works to ensure students know that they have a choice in their refund preference. Before students choose an option, we encourage them to do ample research on local credit unions in their area and national banks as well as options provided by any third party provider – Higher One or otherwise.

Please let me know if you have additional concerns. I look forward to coming to campus to speak with the students.

Thank you,

Amy Duong

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