Student Accounts

Frequently Asked Questions about Higher One, Inc.

Who or what is Higher One, Inc.?

Higher One, Inc. is a financial services company founded in 2000 by three college students while they were still in school. Higher One provides refund-management services to Empire State College through a card-based solution. The refund disbursement process through Higher One provides refund choices to students, reduces costs and increases student customer service.

Why do I have to get my refund through Higher One?

Empire State College is committed to providing the most efficient services to our students. We selected Higher One to distribute our students’ financial aid refunds because of Higher One's experience, ability to serve our students and positive recommendations from other colleges, including other SUNY schools. The college made substantial changes in our processes and computing system in order to disburse financial aid refunds in this manner; therefore, all student financial aid refunds will be processed through Higher One, Inc. Remember, you may choose to have your refund delivered by direct deposit into your own bank account, open a Higher One account, or receive a Higher One paper check.

Why do I need a Higher One card?

We must be able to authenticate your identity on the Higher One website at, where you will make your refund method selection. This will be done by using the information on the card that is mailed to you in a bright green envelope and by entering information that only you will know. Information is contained in the system to authenticate you as a user, making it easy to select your refund preference.

It is important that you visit as soon as you receive your card to make your refund selection.

Does Higher one pay commissions to Empire State College?

No. Empire State College does not receive any compensation from Higher One, Inc. We use Higher One to distribute financial aid refunds so that our students may receive their refunds in a manner that works best for them. We do not, nor will we ever, receive a bonus from Higher One for students opening accounts with them, or for any other reason.

Am I going to be charged fees in order to get my refund?

You can select to have your refund sent to you by direct deposit into your own bank account, or by Higher One paper check. Both of these options are free of charge. Opening a Higher One account is also free of charge; however, you may be subject to charges for nonstandard banking services, the disclosure of which, along with suggestions on avoiding fees, are on the Higher One fee page.

Where can students access Higher One ATM at ESC?

As of May 4, 2016, Higher One customers have access to Allpoint®, the largest surcharge-free ATM network.

SUNY ESC has a Higher One ATM located in the first floor lobby at 113 West Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. This building is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

To find an Allpoint® ATM near you, visit

Make your refund selection at

Financial aid refunds FAQ

Higher One's FAQ web page.


Contact the Student Information Center at 518-587-2100 or 800-847-3000.