Don’t target college students with credit cards |

Don’t target college students with credit cards

by Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

With the expense of a college education, it is little wonder that students make good targets for credit card companies.

But now we learn that the companies are getting help from three of Nevada’s largest institutions for higher learning.

According to a story appearing in Thursday’s Nevada Appeal, University of Nevada, Las Vegas generates $100,000 for the student alumni center by selling the names of 47,000 students and alumni to a credit card solicitation firm.

At Nevada, Reno, selling names raises $50,000 a year for lists of both alumni and students.

While alumni of all three institutions should be concerned their names are being sold to credit card companies, it is the new students who are facing the greatest danger.

According to a Government Accounting Office study, 46 percent of college students acquire credit cards during their first year in school.

The GAO found a significant number of universities and colleges permit alumni associations to raise money by soliciting students for credit cards.

According to the federal report, at one university with an undergraduate enrollment of about 10,000, the student association retained an attorney to provide general and financial advice to students. According to the attorney, over the three years since April 1998, approximately 1,328 students had used the legal service. Of this number, 255 students had sought advice on credit card debt issues. The credit card debt of these students ranged from about $2,100 to nearly $39,000, with an average of approximately $11,200.

Federal legislation has been proposed to limit the number of credit card accounts a student can open.

University regents plan on taking up the issue in January.

While the responsibility for credit card debt is clearly the students’, it would help if the institutions didn’t paint a big target on their backs.