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By Students, For Students: The Higher One Story

mlasaterI'm Miles, one of the founders of Higher One. If you're reading this, it's because your college or university uses our services. As this may be your first experience with us, I'd like to share some background on how we started out, followed by details on the features and benefits of the OneAccount, a no minimum balance, no monthly fee, FDIC Insured checking account.

I founded Higher One when I was a junior in college (which was early 2000 - not that long ago) with two other college friends, Sean Glass and Mark Volchek. Our main idea was to expand the purchasing power of our college ID card so it could be accepted everywhere - not just on campus. While this was a good idea, we weren't sure it would be enough to become a viable business. We needed to provide a benefit to school administrators in addition to the students. Looking at the refund process, we noticed how frustrating it was for students to wait in line for their money. In addition, the process of issuing checks was costly for the school. We decided to create a product based on combining a college ID card with a Debit MasterCard®; this would help students get their refunds from their school faster, offer more choices in how to receive their money and finally save time and money for colleges and universities.

Our company was built on a culture that values integrity, teamwork, creative problem solving, focus and open communication. To me, open communication also extends to customers. Some of the ways we practice this is by avoiding "banky" words; or if we must use them, doing our best to explain what they mean in simpler terms. We also post a link to the OneAccount fee schedule on every page of our banking site. (You don't find that very often!) And on that same page, we've explained in detail how the account can be used for free.

Since Higher One was created by students, for students, we made sure to load the OneAccount with convenient features such as:

  • Refunds available the same day they're released by your institution.
  • The purchasing power of a Debit MasterCard, accepted at over 34 million locations worldwide.
  • Protection under the MasterCard Zero Liability policy.
  • Easy money management online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thanks for taking the time to read this note. I've provided my contact information below and always welcome your comments or suggestions on how we can provide better services and features for students.

Miles Lasater


Miles Lasater at the PULSE COO Luncheon at 
Higher One’s headquarters in New Haven, CT
on February 8, 2011.


Miles Lasater at “Lessons in Excellence” at
Gateway Community College in New Haven,
CT on February 24, 2011.


Miles Lasater with the Student Entrepreneurial Society at the
University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT on February 10, 2011.



Before Higher One, our students only had one way to get their refunds, and that was by paper check. With Higher One processing refunds for us, it has allowed us to provide more options for our students without having to enter and store student banking information. We also no longer have to handle sorting, stuffing and mailing thousands of checks.Suzanne ClaggettUniversity of West Florida
Higher One’s experience with college students and their focus on serving colleges distinguishes Higher One from all other financial service providers. We really liked the fact that the community college customer base is expanding for Higher One.Carla Chance St. Louis Community College

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