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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Credit card bill halted

    PHOENIX – A bill aimed to stop credit card companies from soliciting students on campus died in the Senate’s Higher Education Committee yesterday, a move the bill’s sponsor called “”unexpected.””

    Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, said he was shocked that after a 30-minute presentation about his bill, it was still halted in the Higher Education Committee.

    “”It’s very frustrating to see the actions that took place in committee today,”” he said, adding that he had anticipated a bright future for the legislation.

    The bill would have prohibited a public university or a community college from allowing a credit card marketer to offer gifts such as a T-shirt or hat in exchange for a credit card.

    Ableser said he would watch other bills in the Legislature to get an amendment on credit card solicitors into another bill if possible, but said the bill is essentially dead.

    Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sedona, and the chair of the committee, said the bill was held because more legislators had not done enough outreach to the universities and credit card marketers to understand the issue.

    Such outreach could also help universities and community colleges devise other ways of dealing with solicitors’ tactics than relying on the “”hard hand of the legislative body.””

    The university structure should be able to resolve the matter within the universities or the credit card companies themselves, he said.

    Ableser insisted the bill would have been a statewide approach to lowering the amount of student debt in Arizona, adding that the community colleges don’t have a uniform body such as the board of regents overseeing the system and potentially helping with conflicts.

    Ninety-two percent of college students have a credit card by their sophomore year, and 47 percent carry four or more cards, according to data compiled by Iowa State University in 2004. Additionally, one in every five students owes between $3,000 and $7,000 in credit card debt.

    According to UA policy, the student unions are “”solicitation and commercial-free zones.”” On the UA Mall, credit card companies are only permitted if they are sponsored by a university-recognized club.

    Ableser said everyone knows someone who has gotten into trouble with credit card debt, and his bill’s death will allow credit card companies to continue to rake in profits.

    “”Why not get rid of that manipulative technique?”” he said.

    Seventy-six percent of students nationally have stopped at a booth or table offering T-shirts, free food and other incentives for browsing, according to a March 27 credit card marketing survey done by the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. The nearly 1,500 respondents from 40 universities included UA students.

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