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Cerritos College partners with Higher One to improve efficiency and speed of Financial Aid awards to students

Cerritos College is the 10th institution in California to distribute Financial Aid awards through Higher One’s OneDisburse® Refund Management®

New Haven, CT - July 1, 2009 - Higher One, a financial services and payment company focused exclusively on higher education, announced it has been selected by Cerritos College in California to disburse Financial Aid awards to students.

Currently at Cerritos College, Financial Aid disbursements are issued by paper check. The manual process at Cerritos encouraged staff to research options to better service their students as well as make the business office more efficient.

To accomplish this, Cerritos administrators wanted to move in the direction of using an automated system but did not have the resources to create an internally managed direct deposit (ACH) program.

Kim Westby, Dean of Student Support Services at Cerritos College, states, “Higher One was selected by Cerritos College because the company is committed to higher education and can deliver faster refunds to our students. Higher One also has a great knowledge of federal and state regulations and can provide both students and staff with great customer support.”

Cerritos, a College with a total enrollment of over 26,000 students will now offer students multiple ways to receive Financial Aid awards from the College, including two electronic options: direct deposit to the OneAccount, an optional, no minimum balance, no monthly fee, FDIC Insured checking account provided by Higher One, or an ACH transfer to a bank account of the student’s choice.

Sending disbursements from OneDisburse Refund Management will help Cerritos to eliminate the production of paper checks. The new process will help the college save on costs associated with issuing paper checks such as, costs of paper stock, ink, envelopes, postage and the labor for both the production and customer service inquiries.

When it comes time for the award disbursements to be made, a file is sent from Cerritos College to Higher One which includes student names and the amount of each award. An accompanying wire is also routed for the amount of the total disbursement. Higher One then disburses the awards to each student based on how he or she chose to receive it.

The unprecedented increase in enrollment and decrease in funding nearly every institution of higher education in California is currently enduring has prompted administrators to look for ways to make their business offices more efficient. Higher One will monitor student award preferences, distribute each Financial Aid award, and handle all customer service inquiries from staff and students, ultimately allowing administrators to spend more time focusing on other office initiatives.

“By partnering with Higher One, we are now able to meet the needs of our Financial Aid student population, maintain effective business processes in all departments while adhering to federal and state guidelines,” explains Westby.

Cerritos College will begin issuing financial aid awards through Higher One in August 2009.

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 $8 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.

About Cerritos College:

Cerritos College is an open access institution committed to providing high-quality, academically rigorous instruction in a comprehensive curriculum that respects the diversity represented in the student body and region. The college provides a technologically advanced educational community in which students pursue a variety of educational goals: attainment of an associate degree, transfer to a four-year university, career/technical degree or certificate, or job skills. Achievement of these goals is strongly supported with instruction in basic skills as well as with student and instructional support services. Beyond these college credit programs and services, Cerritos College actively enriches the surrounding community through its varied community education programs.

Media Contacts:

Kelly Rohrs




Tom Kuhn




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