Class Action Suit Proposed Over Federal Student Aid

We can all agree that student loans can be expensive and unfair- on April 13, 2017, a group of students decided to do something about it. Students who were unhappy with the way their student loan payments were being handled filed a proposed class action lawsuit against three companies- Higher One Holdings, Inc., WEX Bank, and Customers Bancorp. Students believe that they were mislead and unfairly charged fees in conjunction with their student loans.

Shayla Edelman, the named plaintiff in the case, is claiming that these companies made unfair deals with higher education institutions. Edelman claims that these deals were beneficial to the loan companies and the colleges/ universities, but not so beneficial to the students taking out (and eventually repaying) the loans.

Basically, the complaint states that money that was awarded to students was often more than they needed, and those additional funds were difficult for students to access, even though the students should have had them easily accessible so that they could use them for books, room and board, and other typical college living expenses. Furthermore, the companies made it hard to get the money that the students were promised.

Some of the problems she mentioned included that students were required to use an ATM network that was difficult to access, and often were hit with high overdraft fees as a result, creating even more financial trouble for students who struggled to access the money they were promised in the first place. Students were also given debit cards that were branded with the logo of the school they attended, tricking students into believing they were in a financial relationship with a higher education institution that they trusted, instead of an unfair loan company.

The class action suit, if it moves forward, would benefit any students who had a Higher One account opened between December 20, 2013 and July 30, 2016 and were charged overdraft fees for using non-Higher One ATMS and engaging in transactions that required a PIN. Edelman is also seeking special restitution for Pennsylvania residents under Pennsylvania-specific laws.