Credit Card Companies Making Killing on Collegians

Some college graduates will receive their diplomas in May and immediately face paying off student loans. Other college students don’t have to be graduates to face a debt that can have long-term consequences before and after graduation. Credit cards are increasingly popular each semester with college students for their convenience, by eliminating having to carry or even have enough cash at the time of a purchase. A recent study, conducted by Headline News, stated that the average American has as many as six credit cards in his or her possession. Credit card companies target more college students every year, causing some students to be deep in debt before they graduate. “I don’t want to say that it is easier for students to obtain credit cards rather than older adults, but there are different requirements that pertain to students,” said Larse Rosene, chief executive of Public Affairs at Student Visa in Harriman, N.Y. “Within the marketing techniques, when we visit college campuses, we already kind of know who we are dealing with — which are the ages mostly between 18 and 24 — who are more likely to be just starting out with fair credit or no credit at all.” Some students consider credit cards a necessity, using them for many of the usual college expenses — books, gas, food, clothes and tuition — needs that are high on their priority lists. “My parents have not sent me any money since last month, so I am just using my Capital One Visa for food,” said Michael Walker, a senior social science major at Jackson State University. “Now that I have graduated, I am still paying off those credit cards that I got when I started college,” Cooper said. “I regret that I got myself in debt before I graduated.” Spending money, shopping, partying and having a great time is what some freshmen have on in mind when entering college. Anthony Robinson, a senior business major at Jackson State, said somebody needs to tell the first-year freshmen about the consequences of credit cards. “It is not extra spending money, but money for emergencies only that has to be paid back,” Robinson said. Some alumni reflect on their college days and when they believe they were lured in the credit card system, adding that they are still getting out of debt. Gary Carpenter, 52, a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and general manager of Dixie Gas on Terry Road in Jackson, Miss., said credit cards send bad messages to students. “It’s funny how the law won’t let beer companies advertise on college campuses because they say it sends a bad message to young people, but they allow credit cards to be advertised everywhere in school buildings, putting young students in debt even before they graduate,” Carpenter said.