Aug. 13--New Haven-based Higher One, which provides debit cards and other financial services to college students, will lay off 10 percent of its workforce in the Connecticut, as it outsources some of its call center work.
"After careful consideration, we made the decision to partner with a third-party customer care provider for our disbursement and OneAccount call center operations," Shoba V. Lemoine, a Higher One spokeswoman, said, in a written statement. "We believe this partnership will provide a superior service experience for millions of our banking customers nationwide utilizing some of the leading technological systems and tools available in the field."
Higher One now has about 1,000 employees, including 283 in Connecticut. The job cuts were disclosed in a filing with the state Department of Labor.
Higher One was founded by Yale friends in 2000 with the premise of helping students receive and manage refunds for colleges, and helping colleges lower the cost of handing out the refunds by tying the money to a bank card that students could use for general purchases. The company branched out to a variety of technology-based services, including checking accounts.
The company has come under increased scrutiny in recent years by both regulators and consumer advocates.
In 2013, for example, Higher One was criticized for charging multiple fees when students tried to make purchases with insufficient funds. After an FDIC investigation, it agreed to make restitution to 60,000 students and pay a $110,000 fine.
The company's stock price has tumbled in recent years, and Mark Volchek, a Higher One co-founder, has stepped down from the post of chief executive.
Higher One shares went public at $12.00 in June, 2010 and rose as high as $21.87 in December of that year. On Thursday, the shares were valued at $2 in early afternoon trading.
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