By Chris Cunningham
The Scene staff
Forest Park students can no longer get cash on campus.
Officials have removed ATMs in the cafeteria and Student Center because the machines were owned by Higher One, and St. Louis Community College no longer does business with that company.
Customers Bank is now managing STLCC student accounts. Students can make withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs. The nearest one is ¾ of a mile away at Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park.
General studies student Shakur Gridiron, 20, doesn’t like the change. “The fact we have to go somewhere else is inconvenient,” she said.
In the past, students could use ATMs on campus to get cash from their STLCC Higher One accounts without a fee and their personal bank accounts with a fee.
One factor in the machine removal was a U.S. Department of Education requirement that student accounts be managed by a company with a nationwide network. Higher One didn’t meet that requirement.
Accounting clerk Karen Johnson, of the Forest Park finance and business administration department, has been fielding questions about ATM removal in recent weeks.
“Students want to know why they were taken out, and will we get any more ATMs,” Johnson said.
It’s possible that Forest Park will get ATMs in the future. The college has been negotiating with possible vendors but hasn’t reach an agreement, according to STLCC Controller Celeste Metcalf.
“The college must develop a relationship with an ATM vendor, where it is profitable for the vendor and not unprofitable for the college,” she said.
Part of the challenge in finding a vendor is that ATM use on STLCC campuses is relatively low.
“If we had people using the ATMs regularly, vendors would be pounding down the door to get on our campus,” Metcalf said. “But instead we are practically begging for their business.”
Allpoint ATMs are often found in Walgreens, CVS, 711 and Target locations. Students can go to allpointnetwork.com for a locator map, allowing them to find the company’s nearest machine.
Students who are most inconvenienced by not having ATMs on campus are those who take public transportation.
“A lot of people take the bus, and they don’t want to take the bus to an ATM,” Johnson said. “It is dangerous to get on the bus and get back on after getting money out.”
Truck driving student Joe Thomas, 56, takes the bus to and from Forest Park. “It would be inconvenient (to go elsewhere to get cash) on a day where it is 200 degrees, like today,” he said.
But general transfer student and bus rider Haroun Younis, 55, is ambivalent about the ATM change. “As long as I have a bus pass, I don’t have a problem,” he said.