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America is one step closer to a government-backed account and debit card for college students

Historically, banks and credit-card companies have eagerly courted colleges and their students, with questionable tactics, seeking to build lucrative, lifetime financial relationships with a captive audience.

Now, the government is one step closer to getting into that business.

This month, the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) released a request for applications from companies interested in participating in a pilot program offering students an account, card and other services co-branded with FSA.

The Department aims to make it easier for schools and students to deal with the loan funds left over after tuition and fees are paid, according to documents released last week.

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