Former Arizona State University student Mallory Parker was walking through campus her freshman year when she was presented with an offer — a credit card that would pay for meals, books, rent and all other expenses that build up day after day.
“I charged everything to it,” Parker said.
That is, until she maxed out the card at $2,200, plus interest.
Students could be spared these difficulties if HB2518 makes it through the Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, would prohibit credit card
solicitation on college campuses.
The House Higher Education committee approved the bill Tuesday, and the bill now awaits a vote from the full House.
Students often fill out credit card applications in return for a free T-shirt or stuffed animal,
Ableser said, but then the credit card arrives in the mail and the debt begins.
“Almost two-thirds of students responsible for paying their own bills said they had obtained credit cards at campus tables,” according to a 2002 report by Candy Bianco and Susan Bosco, published in the journal Teaching Business Ethics.
Ableser said the bill would end campus solicitation, which can influence students who have little experience with finances.
A Glendale Community College student, Anna Odom, said she didn’t have to approach a table to sign up for her first credit card. She was at her bank.
“I signed up to get a checking account, and they offered me a credit card, too,” she said. “I was 18.”
The $700 limit on Odom’s card saved her from diving into debt. But debt on college campuses is increasing, Ableser said.
Most college students are over 18, which makes them legal adults. So Ableser said a campus restriction can’t involve age.
However, without an age provision, the bill would restrict marketing practices to older adults on campuses, such as faculty and alumni, said Tanya Wheeless, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Bankers Association.
She said students are free to accept or reject the cards.
“No one is required to fill out the application,” Wheeless said. “And there is no one there making them use the credit card.”