Questionable ties

The recent TCF scandal sheds light on the University’s business ethics.

Ronald Dixon

Almost a year after being thrust into the spotlight as the pinnacle of bureaucratic waste in higher education, the University of Minnesota is seeing its fair share of controversial news once again.

The University is currently under scrutiny by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its questionable ties with TCF Bank.

Unearthed by ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” freshmen are informed that the bank account would be free and convenient, but they did not consider the fact that the overdraft fee, which young adults violate seven times a year on average, can force students to pay hundreds extra per year.

The University defends its relationship with TCF Bank, a financial institution that invests millions into University contracts, advertising on campus and placing its name on the football stadium.

Through my experience, however, I witnessed how students can be misled into creating a TCF account.

Last year, when incoming freshmen had to go through the Welcome Week activities, I felt I was led to believe we could obtain the TCF Bank account for free and that it would be used through our U Cards.

This naturally led to some confusion. Some students wondered if we had to establish a TCF Bank account because the U Card had the TCF logo plastered on it. Others asked and received unclear responses from the Welcome Week leaders.

As a freshman, though, I ultimately decided that it was not in my best interest to create an account. Not taking into account the fees, which I was uninformed about, I believed that my checking and savings accounts were sufficient. Adding another bank account from a different financial institution would complicate my budget.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for any students who have already created accounts under unclear circumstances. I hope TCF and the University are now realizing there may be consequences for how they’ve developed their relationship.

Public universities are not in the business of making money, but to educate the young generation. This story only questions the ethics of the University administration.