July 23, 2017
Ernest Ezeugo wrote for Diverse Issues in Higher Education about a recent University of Missouri policy designed to limit student spending.
In an effort to curb student debt, the University of Missouri (Mizzou) has taken a controversial step: placing limits on what students can charge on their university accounts.
Earlier this month, the university announced a new policy that will bar students from using a financing option known as “student charge” to make non-academic purchases. The restrictions, which are set to begin in August, are supposed to promote better spending habits, increase retention, and support students in making progress towards their degrees, according to a statement from Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies at Mizzou, in the Kansas City Star.
While well intentioned, Mizzou’s new policy may actually have the reverse effect for the most vulnerable student populations. Student charge works like a credit card that has a $1,250 limit and doesn’t charge interest. Using their university ID, students can pay for purchases at on-campus stores and restaurants. Those charges are added to a student’s institutional account at the end of the semester.