Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 15, 2013
Earlier this week Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., signed into a law a bill that bans companies that issue credit cards from soliciting to college students on the grounds of the state’s public universities. The law, which passed in the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, was designed to prevent college students from leaving school more debt-laden than necessary.
“These kids are carrying enough debt through student loans, through whatever costs they have for education,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, a supporter of the new law told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The new law prohibits public colleges in New Jersey “from entering into an agreement, or permitting its agents or a student organization from entering into any agreement, for the purposes of the direct merchandising of credit cards in person or by displays to students,” as described in a press release from the office of the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Sen. Kevin O’Toole.
“Credit card companies often use merchandise displays offering free sports T-Shirts or blankets to attract young people,” O’Toole noted in the press release. “This tactic leads young people to open accounts they cannot keep solvent, which can bury them in debt caused by unsuspectingly high interest rates.”
Rutgers and Rowan Universities are among the schools that are affected by the new law. Another school, Montclair State University, already had a similar ban in place dating back to the late 1990s.
“It placed students at risk of a bad credit foundation,” Montclair State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich told Patch.com. “We saw it as creating a situation where our students would be put in debt that they cannot meet because they are full-time students.”