SUNY takes Cuomo's advice

Keith Loria Sep. 7, 2010, 2:00pm


OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he all 64 State University of New York campuses will adopt his plan aimed at safeguarding students from deceptive credit card marketing companies.

Cuomo's "Student Credit Card Reforms for Colleges and Universities" contains information that guides schools on protecting college students from falling victim to problematic credit card marketing practices.

Troubled by the mounting credit card debt faced by many students, Cuomo came up with this plan to help schools monitor and limit marketing to college students and commit the schools to providing financial literacy programs. SUNY is the first school in the nation to adopt the reforms, and Cuomo has urged all New York colleges and universities to follow SUNY's lead.

"In these difficult economic times, college students are acquiring enormous credit card debt that may burden them for decades to come," Cuomo said.

"To make matters worse, they are being targeted by credit card companies at their colleges. By agreeing to adopt these reforms, SUNY has demonstrated its commitment to protecting students from unfair credit card marketing at all of its campuses.

"I commend SUNY for being at the vanguard of reform and I urge other colleges and universities to follow their lead."

Cuomo's "Student Credit Card Reforms for Colleges and Universities" offers tips and guidelines for the schools, including requiring the schools to offer financial literacy programs to educate students on student loans, credit cards and other commonly used financial products; keeping the schools from distributing students' personal information to credit card companies without a students' prior authorization; and monitoring and limiting any on-campus credit card marketing to appropriate times and locations.

If a school enters an exclusive agreement with one credit card company where students are involved, under Cuomo's plan, it must select one based on the best interests of the students.

They are also not to enter into an agreement with a company where the school gets a percentage of finance charges imposed on students. If a school already has a deal like that in place, it must cease accepting payments from it immediately.

Cuomo sent letters to the approximately 300 colleges and universities in New York last week asking the schools to submit any exclusive contracts they currently have with credit and debit card companies for an evaluation by his office so it can better safeguard the students.

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