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FTC to Ban Universities Retaining Unused Meal Plan Payments

03/22/2024

The White House has instructed the Federal Trade Commission to prevent universities retaining unused meal plan payments.  The initiative is a component of a campaign against “junk fees” and other forms of exploitation of university students (and their parents) including charging for books as a component of tuition fees.  A White House statement noted, “Students incur billions in fees or additional unseen costs for unused meal account funds, using a college-sponsored credit card or banking account, paying for textbooks or taking out a loan.”  The statement also criticized the lack of transparency displayed by Universities in withholding information that would allow students to opt out of certain fees.

 

The intention to limit “junk fees” also extends to restaurants and hotels that in some jurisdictions are required to clearly state service fees and to restrict imposition of charges without a specific explanation and express agreement by the patron.