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New debit card for financial aid users

By Karlvyn Louis-Charles kcharles@valenciavoice.com

Students used to getting reimbursement checks from the business office will be surprised this term, because starting Feb. 4, Valencia will distribute financial aid refunds through a new debit card system.

The debit card will utilize the direct deposit banking feature, allowing students to receive their refunds within an hour of disbursement. This will make funds more easily accessible and will be the only reimbursement option offered by Valencia.

"If a student absolutely wants a paper check they will have to go through Higher One, the company we’re using for the debit cards,” said Kisha Peart, a business office specialist on Valencia’s East campus. “Basically what could happen is after 21 days, they will automatically mail out a paper check, so the student will have to wait an additional 3-4 weeks if they want a paper check."

The new system allows students to receive funds within hours after the business office has released them instead of weeks under the school’s past policies. Valencia plans to have all cards mailed out by the end of this month.

This won’t be the first semester Valencia has used the system. Valencia students with flex-

schedules starting in November or December of last year already received their funds through the new debit card system. Once the student has received the debit card, the next step is to activate it at http://www.valenciadebitcard.com.

The activation process is simple. Go to the website, type in your new debit card number and click the “Get Started” link on the page. Once you have personalized your account with information like your Valencia ID, social security number, and birth date, the next step is choosing a refund option. This would be by either setting up an account with Higher One and using their debit card, or having the funds transferred to your pre-existing checking account, using the ACH transfer refund option.

Kisha Peart from the business office stated, “We do recommend the debit card only because you will get your funds faster. So on Fridays when we disperse at 12 o'clock, by 12:30 or 1 o’clock students will have access to their money on their debit card.”

If the ACH option is chosen, steps involving the student’s bank account number and bank name are then added to the process. “If students choose their bank account, they do have to wait an additional 3-4 days.”

The new debit card system should help make the reimbursement process simpler and faster for both the students and Valencia College.



The iPhones are coming

Verizon offers long awaited lifeboat frustrated AT&T customers


By Shay Castle scastle@valenciavoice.com

Verizon officials announced in a press conference Tues- day that the wireless net- work will offer the iPhone for sale early next month. Pre-ordering begins Feb. 3 for existing Verizon cus- tomers, and opens to the general public a week later. Verizon is capitalizing on the excitement by market- ing the debut of the iPhone as an event in and of itself. A banner on the company’s website reads “iPhone 4. Ve-


It begins



02.10.11.” offer of

$199.99 for the 16GB phone or $299.99 for the 32GB mod- el is available with the sign- ing of a two year contract. The long awaited announce- ment comes, after months of media speculation, to the delight of iPhone users dis- satisfied with the limita- tions of the AT&T network. Most of the features on the Verizon iPhone will be identi- cal to those offered by AT&T.

One exception is 3G personal hot spot capability, which al- lows users to connect up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. This feature will only be available on the new Verizon models. Despite the general excite-

ment, some online bloggers have expressed disappointment that the iPhone will not run on Verizon’s 4G network, but in- stead utilize older technology. Older technology means limited capabilities. Verizon iPhone users will not be able to use the internet while placing a call or use their phone overseas. Apple COO Tim Cook said

that the company was unwill- ing to make “design com- promises” needed to allow the iPhone to run on the 4G network. Also coming into play was the incredible de- mand by Verizon customers for the popular smart phone. “Verizon customers have told us they want the iPhone now,” Cook said at the press conference. “I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been asked: ‘When will the iPhone work on the Verizon network?’” Verizon and iPhone maker Apple began discussions in 2008, one year after the iPhone was released by AT&T. The two wireless providers will remain exclusive carriers. Still, the question remains: Will the acquisition of the iPhone result in a sizable shift of users from AT&T to Verizon? Big numbers have been thrown around as estimates. Ted Moore, a portfolio man- ager with Fifth Third, predict- ed in the “Washington Post” that as many as three million AT&T subscribers will defect to Verizon within the first year.

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