College Kids Sold Out By Their Own Schools. . .

10 07 2008

to the credit card monster. Over and over and it never stops, even when they become alumni donor prospects. It will follow them forever.

It’s a sad story y’all. Seems there’s no ivy-covered campus any more, where kids can grow into real-world lives under the nurturing educator eye of their protective professors and administrators. Nope, in loco parentis is long gone, and now kids and their private education information are valuable commodities to be reeled in, signed up, sold out and shackled to eternal debt service.

And worst of all, it’s right here in my own backyard (among other colleges and universities in Florida and across the country, of course.)  Thank goodness my own alma mater isn’t implicated (yet?) but several Florida universities are in bed with the Bank of America to feed the kids to the monster on unfavorable terms — unfavorable to the kids, I mean, favorable to Big Business and Big Education!  Oops, sorry, was that redundant?

I doubt we’ve heard the last of this, considering that Congress is taking testimony on how college kids are aggressively screwed by Big Business and Education with student loan debt, too, supposedly to “help” them get that gosh-darned higher education that will secure their future earning power, doncha know.

Well, it better. Because they’re gonna need it. They’ll be up to their eyeballs in debt before they ever get off campus, and probably never know who sold them out in the first place!

Btw, in the interest of full disclosure (because I learned integrity at home, not at school?) the crusader who independently investigated this story and will be following up with more, shares a name with me and has helped homeschool our kids. Including Favorite Daughter the college student headed for this local university, who had BETTER NOT be getting her private info sold to the credit card monster in the name of her educational best interests.

It’s bad enough she keeps getting those military recruiting brochures from every imaginable branch of service . . . understand, I was an Air Force brat myself and proud of it.  My dad went to Clemson when it was still an Air Force academy, a Depression baby who never had a dime for chewing gum much less whatever kids charge on campus credit cards today, had to hitchhike to and from home in Cool Springs NC just to see his family on holidays.  So the college debt he graduated with was to the Air Force, which he honored in Korea.  But it was honorable debt, all aboveboard and honest, all agreed to, all very clear.  Think how sneaky it would’ve been to secretly set him up for that on an opt-out basis, and then to hit him with the military debt at graduation. Oh by the way son, you owe us six years in uniform . . .

So this isn’t a blanket objection to the military or business (he became a UF business professor when he got out!)  It’s a homeschooling mother’s very specific outrage at how Big Education, Big Government and Big School Sports have become indistinguishable, and ganged up on our kids.

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5 responses

10 07 2008
JJ

In Favorite Daughter’s words:

I can’t get past how sleazy this is. It’s beyond cavalier indifference to the students’ well-being, it’s something much more sinister, much more wicked and hypocritical. To make videos alerting college kids to the dangers of credit card debt and to then turn and sell them to those very creditors?

The whole student body is so attuned to physical danger, to the big scary world outside their hometowns, a world of date-rape and bars and the vulnerability that shadows loneliness – and yet without their consent or knowledge, the digital bits and pieces that make up their very identities are being offered up to people who are infamous for trashing and erasing them.

. . .It is in that spirit that I’ve written this blog: awareness. We should all be looking out, looking as far ahead as we can, for ways we can get hurt. And if we see a societal problem, the least we can do is pass it on, change it if we can, or at least help others avoid it.

To learn more about the how some schools are profiting from their students’ personal info, check out this site my dad’s working on right now.
And please, pass it on.

10 07 2008
JJ

“College Credit Cards On Spot” in Chicago Tribune, July 6.

16 07 2008
Like School, College Hardly Academic Environment Anymore « Cocking A Snook!

[…] to be understood and perhaps acted upon? Intimidation, hazing, politics, religion, minority rights, money, student conduct violations, hate crimes, tyranny? And who’s the victim, who’s the […]

18 10 2008
JJ

This October 17 NYT editorial says it all:
The College Credit Card Trap :

Add this to the list of the country’s financial woes: Credit card companies are aggressively targeting college students, many of whom are naïve about money matters and vulnerable to predatory offers that can get them permanently mired in debt.

According to an eye-opening survey by the United States Public Interest Research Group, or U.S. PIRG, which is an advocacy organization. . . students who showed up for the food were required to fill out credit card applications before they could eat.

A half-dozen states have placed restrictions on how credit cards can be marketed at public colleges. Congress is considering sensible bills that would restrict the amount of credit and the number of cards that students could be offered. Lawmakers should also focus on the lucrative and often secret deals that universities and their alumni associations regularly cut with credit card companies.
. . . which makes the school a partner in the plundering of young peoples’ meager assets.

Congress must insist that these deals be made public and universities and alumni groups must insist that students be given fair deals from credit card companies.

15 02 2010
JJ

This month, large parts of the credit card bill that President Obama signed into law in 2009 go into effect. Among them are rules governing credit card use by anyone under 21 years old.

Starting Feb. 22, they can’t get a credit card unless they have an independent source of funds to pay the bills. Failing that, they’ll need a parent to co-sign the application (and submit written permission before the credit limit can rise).

The temptation is to stand up and cheer. Banks will no longer find it useful to plant themselves at tables outside the student union, luring innocent freshmen with offers of free sandwich coupons or T-shirts in exchange for completed credit card applications. . .

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