Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 16 August 2013

Key Congressional Staffer Goes To Work For Student Debit Card Firm She Investigated... -

Key Congressional Staffer Goes To Work For Student Debit Card Firm She Investigated... - 

As a former legislative assistant for Sen. Dick Durbin, Joanna Serra was part of an investigation into Higher One. Now the company turned around and hired her.

The notorious revolving door between Congress and the industries it oversees has opened for a company that makes its money off student loans.
The controversial, New Haven-based Higher One, which has been criticized by politicians and consumer advocacy groups for onerous practices related its student debit cards, has poached a key staff member from one of its harshest congressional critics.
Joanna Serra, who was a legislative assistant and the primary staff member on education issues for liberal Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, is now working in government affairs for Higher One. A representative for Durbin confirmed that Serra left in July. She started working at Higher One on July 15, a company representative told BuzzFeed.
Her responsibilities, according to a job listing posted by Higher One, include working “as a company representative for federal and state lobbying efforts and trade associations” and monitoring “state and federal legislative and regulatory issues.”
Higher One’s primary business is the disbursement of student financial aid and providing students with debit cards with financial aid money. Both Higher One’s marketing of those debit cards — students often receive them without signing up or requesting them — and the fees associated with them, such as when PINs are used to make debit purchases or using non-Higher One ATMs, have been criticized by consumer groups, among them the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. HigherOne disburses financial aid on campuses with around 4.5 million students enrolled and has 2.2 account holders.
Messages left for Serra went unreturned.


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