URI will cut the cost and time to process student refunds

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URI is the first Rhode Island institution to partner with Higher One

Kingston, RI – June 29, 2009 – University of Rhode Island students who may be due a refund for any tuition or related expenses during their years at URI will no longer have to wait to receive a check. Instead, these “refunds” will now be made available electronically to a student-directed bank account.

The University has partnered with Higher One, a financial services and payment company, to provide a new, cost- and time-saving service for its students.

The Higher One service will eliminate the printing, processing and mailing of about 20,000 URI refund checks a year and provide students with quicker access to their funds. While the University has agreed to pay Higher One a small transaction fee, in fact, less than the cost of a stamp, the new service is anticipated to save the University more throughout the year in costs associated with postage, mail, envelopes, and check stock.

“The traditional process we have been using is cumbersome, time-consuming, and certainly not very ‘green’. Our controller’s office has issued checks daily during the first two months of each semester and twice per week during all others. In today’s economic climate, and with the technology now available, we want our students to have access to their refunds as soon as possible,” said Robert A. Weygand, URI vice president for administration. “With Higher One, we’ll be able to provide better service to our students, while reducing the associated operating costs at the same time. This is the new digital version of refund management at URI.”

The University sought a new way to manage these transactions and the State of Rhode Island issued a request for proposals in October 2008 on its behalf. Six months later, a contract with Higher One, based in New Haven, Conn., was finalized.

Starting with the summer orientation sessions for incoming freshmen, and continuing with mailings to all undergraduate and graduate students, all URI students will receive their individualized “URI Refund Card.” The University will then be able to disburse any refund that is due to a student’s account.

The URI Refund Card will allow each student to log onto a secure website to confirm a primary email address and mailing address, and select how they would like to receive a financial aid refund due from the University.

Students can select from one of two electronic methods to receive refunds. Refunds can either be directly deposited to their OneAccount, an optional no-minimum balance, no monthly fee, FDIC-insured checking account provided by Higher One, or be sent via ACH (automatic clearing house) to a bank account of their choice. Even if they are not expecting a refund, it is recommended that all students register their URI Refund Card when they receive it.

With the Higher One service, students won’t have to wait for a check, they’ll be able to use their funds as needed and will even benefit from other features like a “mobile alert” that will notify them when funds are deposited into their debit account.

Link for more information about the URI Refund Card.

About University of Rhode Island:

The University of Rhode Island is known regionally and worldwide for its innovative, big ideas, adaptive intelligence and breakthrough solutions. URI’s pioneering research extends its influence well beyond its R.I. coastlines, while its unique interdisciplinary courses provide its 13,000 undergraduate and 3,000 graduate students with global opportunities in an intimate environment.

The University takes learning beyond the classroom and welcomes original thinking. URI’s expression, “Think Big. We Do,” reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of the University, the local as well as global impact of the work being done by the people at URI and by the big contributions being made by alumni in all walks of life.

About Higher One:

Founded in 2000, Higher One provides higher education institutions and their students with efficient, convenient and easy-to-use solutions to handle financial disbursements. These include: student refunds, on-campus and community purchases, payroll and employee expenses, as well as the collection of payments from students, parents, and sponsors.

Higher One offers a suite of online banking services including the OneAccount, an FDIC-Insured checking account, and OneCard, a Debit MasterCard®. To date, Higher One has disbursed over $7.76 billion dollars in refunds for its clients to more than 2 Million students, faculty, and staff at over 310 distinguished public and private higher education institutions throughout the country. Higher One recently ranked # 79 on the 2009 Fast 500 list of the 500 Fastest Growing Technology Companies in the United States. Higher One is based in New Haven, CT.

Higher One Media Contacts:

Kelly Rohrs, Edelman, 212.819.4852, kelly.rohrs@edelman.com

Tom Kuhn, Edelman, 212.704.4523, tom.kuhn@edelman.com