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ERIC Number: EJ847128
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May-29
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Credit-Card Bill Seeks to Protect Students but Could Limit Their Access to Credit
Field, Kelly
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n38 pA25 May 2009
Congress passed legislation last week that would shield students and other consumers from sudden spikes in interest rates and fees, but that could make it harder for young people to access credit to pay for college. The legislation would extend broad new consumer protections to all credit-card holders, offering special protections to college students. The bill would bar credit-card companies from issuing cards to students younger than 21 unless their parents agreed to accept financial liability or the students could demonstrate an independent ability to pay. The measure would also cap the amount students younger than 21 who were issued cards could borrow at $500 or 20 percent of their annual income, whichever was greater. Student groups and consumer advocates applauded the bill, saying it would protect students from misleading marketing and unfair terms and conditions. But critics say the bill could limit students' access to credit at a time when they are more reliant on plastic than ever before. The bill would also take aim at marketing agreements reached by colleges and credit-card companies. Under an amendment inserted into the bill before Senate passage, colleges would be required to publicly disclose such arrangements, and credit-card companies would have to report how much money they were giving to colleges and their alumni associations through those agreements. The amendment would also bar credit-card companies from offering gifts to students in exchange for completing credit-card applications. Still, student groups didn't get everything they would have liked in the bill. Senate leaders refused to consider an amendment that would have made it easier for retailers, including colleges and college bookstores, to offer discounts to customers who pay with debit cards rather than credit cards. The amendment was supported by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the National Association of College Stores, which estimates that its members paid $85-million in credit-card processing fees, known as "interchange fees," in 2003-2004. The provision would have helped "lower a source of escalating and uncontrollable costs for institutions, which are ultimately paid for by students through higher prices."
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: circulation@chronicle.com; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A