N.Y. colleges to protect students on credit cards

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The 64-campus State University of New York (SUNY) system, one of the largest state systems in the nation, adopted a set of reforms on Tuesday aimed at protecting students from deceptive credit card practices.

The reforms, developed by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, stem from an ongoing investigation into credit card marketing on college campuses. The statewide investigation has revealed "troubling practices" that have contributed to the "crushing credit card debt" faced by many students, according to a statement from Cuomo's office.

"In these difficult economic times, college students are acquiring enormous credit card debt that may burden them for decades to come," Cuomo - the Democrats' candidate for governor this fall - said in a statement. "To make matters worse, they are being targeted by credit card companies at their colleges."

Under the reforms, SUNY will not share students' personal information with credit card companies unless the school has obtained students' prior authorization. It will also offer financial literacy programs to educate students on student loans, credit cards, and other commonly used financial products.

The reforms, which Cuomo has urged all New York colleges and universities to adopt, prohibit schools from earning a percentage of finance charges imposed on students by credit card companies.

In addition, schools that agree to the reforms must monitor all credit card offers promoted on campus and all marketing must be limited to "appropriate times and locations." If a school decides to enter an exclusive agreement with a credit card company, it must select a credit card based on the best interests of students.

The average college student graduates with nearly $4,100 in credit card debt, according to a 2009 survey conducted by student lender Sallie Mae. The survey also showed that 84% of undergraduates had at least one credit card last year, up from 76% in 2004.

Cuomo's office said some students have been forced to drop out of school and seek full-time employment because of "overwhelming" levels of debt.

In addition, high-interest credit card debt can hurt a graduate's jobs prospects, Cuomo said, since many employers check applicants' credit scores before hiring.

"Crippling debt at an early age can devastate a person's academic career, credit worthiness, future job and partner prospects, as well as mental health," Robert Manning, author of Credit Card Nation, said in a statement.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 8:06pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.