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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students want fair credit

    With the cost of tuition and living expenses on the rise, the temptation for students to abuse credit cards is higher than ever. A new survey suggests that students across the nation want credit card companies to amend their marketing practices on college campuses.

    According to the results of a survey involving over 1,500 students at 40 colleges across the nation, most students said they support the idea that credit card companies should be forced to practice fair marketing principles when advertising to students on college campuses.

    The United States Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, a nonprofit public advocacy organization, conducted the survey.

    The survey took place between October 2007 and February 2008, and involved schools from 14 states, including the UA.

    “”Our mission is to ensure that credit card companies’ methods are fair and transparent,”” said Neal Denardi, a leader of the Arizona PIRG student chapter and a political science junior. “”Campus credit card marketing is simply out-of-control.””

    The survey found that 74 percent of students thought only cards with fair terms and conditions should be marketed on campus. The survey also found that 67 percent of students were opposed to the sale or sharing of student lists that included addresses, cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses to credit card companies.

    The survey is part of an ongoing “”Truth About Credit”” campaign that aims to educate students about the risks of credit card debt and push for companies to use fair marketing practices.

    According to the PIRG, the survey said that one of the main lures companies use is offering students free gifts in exchange for signing up for a card.

    The survey found that the most common gifts were T-shirts or food items such as free pizza or sandwiches. Seventy-six percent of students surveyed said they stopped at a table or booth that displayed free items as promotional incentives.

    “”I know people who have done that,”” said Alex Delaney, a pre-medicine sophomore. “”I’ve filled out stuff myself to get a free T-shirt, but I just wrote down false information on the forms so they couldn’t send me anything.””

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce said the university has banned credit card companies from advertising on campus if they use free gift incentives to entice students.

    “”The university looks at who they are and what they are doing and limits them,”” Bruce said. “”That’s more than most campuses across the nation can claim.””

    In addition to lobbying for campuses to impose restrictions on credit card company marketing, the PIRG aims to educate students about the dangers of charging large amounts of money to credit cards.

    “”The tactics credit card (companies) are using really makes it easy for students to slip into debt,”” said Denardi.

    The survey reported that out of students who are responsible for managing and paying for their own credit cards, freshmen carry an average balance of $1,301. Seniors in the survey reported an average balance of $2,623.

    Al Sterman, a member of the Arizona Consumers Council, said credit cards are a trap for students who don’t look at the long-term consequences of their actions and find themselves deeply in debt after graduation.

    He said he supports marketing restrictions, not only at the UA, but on a larger scale.

    A bill is currently in the state legislature that would restrict credit card companies from using promotional items to market credit cards on campus. The bill passed through the House Higher Education Committee in early February and is currently awaiting approval from the full House of Representatives.

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