FAQs for the new SWC Access Card Program For Students
- Why is SWC doing this?For years, students have been asking us to find a way to allow them to have their financial aid disbursements automatically deposited to their checking accounts, rather than having for wait for a check to arrive in the mail. This is a direct response to those requests. The HigherOne solution allows us to offer this service to students, ensuring funds are delivered faster and safer, while reducing processing time and minimizing costs.
- What is HigherOne?
HigherOne is a company started in 2000 by three college students who believed there should be a better way for students to receive and manage their money. HigherOne has partnered with over half the community colleges in the state of California (58 at last count) and works with more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide , serving more than 10 million students every year.
- Why did I receive a card in the mail?
You received a sign up packet in the mail because you have been identified as an SWC student who has been awarded financial aid for the current academic year. Students who will be receiving financial aid disbursements are the ones we are asking to make a choice of how they would like to receive their disbursements in the future.
- What are my options for receiving my funds now?
You have three options for receiving you financial aid funds – you may have them electronically deposited to your current checking account, you may open an account with HigherOne (for those students who do not currently have checking accounts) or you may continue to receive paper checks, as in the past. We want you to choose the option that works best for you.
- I already have a checking account. Do I need to open a different one with HigherOne?
No. You can absolutely use your current checking account to receive your Financial Aid disbursements – in fact, we encourage you to do so. Students will also have the option of opening a new account with Higher One or continuing to receive paper checks – the choice is yours. We want you to make the choice that works best for you.
- Are there fees for this new service?
No. There is no fee for receiving your financial aid. However, if you choose to have your funds electronically transmitted to your current bank or to a HigherOne account, you would be subject to your bank's standard account fees (click here to access HigherOne's fee schedule). If you choose to receive a check, it may be subject to check cashing fees, depending on where you choose to cash it. However, no money from your financial aid disbursement is ever deducted for this purpose.
- What happens if I don’t sign up?
If you do not complete the process letting us know your preference, your funds will be held for up to 21 days, pending the completion of your registration. If you have still not completed the registration within 21 days, a check will be mailed to you. Remember – the sooner you complete the process, the sooner you’ll have your money in your hands.
- Do I have to sign up at the beginning of each school year?
No. Once you make your choice for your disbursements from Southwestern College, it is in effect for your entire length of attendace here and you do not have to sign up agagin. However, you can chance your preference whenever - and as many times - as you wish.
- I have a HigherOne account at another school. Can I use it at Southwestern?
No. You cannot use an account at another school to receive funds here. It will be necessary for you to activate a new account from Southwestern in order to receive your funds.
- What’s the deadline to sign up?
While there is no actual deadline, we encourage all students to complete the sign up process no more than 5 days after you receive your packet. This will ensure a seamless transition, and that you experience no delay in receiving funds.
- How will I know if my money has been sent?
You will receive an email from HigherOne when funds have been dispersed. You may also check the Financial Aid Disbursement schedule on our website and check the status of your disbursement on your account at www.swcaccess.com
- My card has a MasterCard logo on it. Are you giving me a credit card?
Absolutely not. This card contains the account number required for you to register your preference for how you’d like to receive your financial aid in the future. After that process is complete, it will be used ONLY by those students who chose to open a HigherOne account, as their debit card and ATM card. For all other students – those using their current checking accounts or those choosing to continue to receive paper checks – the card can be kept for reference only. It is NOT a credit card.
- What if I move? What do I need to do?
If you move, PLEASE update your address in BOTH HigherOne AND WebAdvisor. These databases are not interactive, so a change of address must be entered in both places to ensure all necessary communication continues to reach you. Please be sure to use your mailing address.
- I received a green envelope for sign up but my friend didn’t. How come?
Only students who have already been awarded financial aid will be receiving sign up envelopes. It is possible your friend’s processing is not yet complete or that he/she was not awarded. Any students awarded after the initial mailing the week of January 11th will receive sign up packets within 5-7 days of receiving their award letter from SWC.
- Who is included in this program?
This program is only for SWC students who have been awarded financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Federal Loans, Cal Grants and SEOG. Students receiving only BOGFW do not need to sign up and will not be receiving one of the green envelopes in the mail.
- When will this service take effect?
This program will take effect with the February 2013 disbursement, so please be sure to make your choice and complete the sign up process as quickly as possible to ensure the prompt disbursement of your funds.
- I’m a student at one of the HECs and I’m not at the main campus. What if I need help?The Education Center Techs have been trained on the HigherOne process and can offer assistance. You can also email us your questions firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of the instructional videos on the website as well.
- Will there be a place to get cash for students who elect a HigherOne account?
Yes, we have installed two HigherOne ATMs - one at the Student Center and one at the San Ysidro HEC - with another one just outside the Boookstore this fall for students wishing to withdraw funds fee-free from their HigherOne accounts. Non-HigherOne account holders may also use these ATMs, but will be subject to an ATM user fee.
- I’ve changed my mind about how I want to receive my disbursement. Am I stuck with my choice?
No. You many change your choice whenever you want, as many times as you want. Simply log on to www.SWCAccessCard. com and change your preference.
- What if I have more questions?
For more information, please contact the SWC Financial Aid Office, contact HigherOne Customer Care at 1-877-732-0440 or access the EasyHelp link.