By Jillian Berman
That “so few students actually took advantage of it,” said Adam Pulver, an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, a consumer-focused public interest law firm, “shows that this program was never really about meeting student interest and student demand.” Instead, he said, it was about providing an opportunity for the private sector to make money off students using financial aid.
“If this program really was so beneficial to student borrowers then you would expect student borrowers to sign up in much greater numbers — clearly they did not,” he added.
Pulver suspects that the pilot failed because not many students had a need for another financial product, particularly one that didn’t tie into accounts they might have already had.
“Older and nontraditional students, these are people who have been engaging with a lot of financial institutions throughout their lives,” Pulver said. “Just having this additional random account doesn’t play into the role of becoming a wise financial consumer.”