Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Credit Card Deals and the University

An article in today's Insider Higher Ed notes that the Federal Reserve has made available info on deals between credit card issuers and universities. Above is a table from the Fed's report showing some information on the UC-systemwide alumni group and UCLA and their deals with credit card firms. It isn't as legible as I would like but you can get the report including the table above at

An excerpt from the article in Insider Higher Ed:

Credit Card Companies Pay Millions to Colleges (excerpt)

Inside Higher Ed, October 26, 2010

Credit card companies made more than $83 million in payments to colleges and their alumni associations and foundations in 2009 as part of agreements that allowed the companies to make their cards available to students on the institutions’ campuses, the Federal Reserve said in a report Monday.

The report, which was mandated by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the “Credit CARD Act”), offers the first broad look at the arrangements by which credit card companies market their products to students, alumni and others, with the help of postsecondary institutions and their affiliates. The 2009 credit card law imposed restrictions on such arrangements going forward, but also required significantly more reporting about the nature and extent of the agreements.

The Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors said its report was designed to provide information to the public about agreements that “provide for the issuance of credit cards to college students," although the report acknowledges that some of the agreements may include payments for “other financial products,” and for accounts opened by alumni, employees or other non-students…

(The article goes on to give a non-working address at the Fed which is supposed to contain the actual individual university credit card contracts. I couldn’t find the correct address on the website.)

Full article at

Note that there is not necessarily anything nefarious going on here. I have a distant memory of having a UCLA-sponsored credit card (American Express) that had - at the time - advantageous conditions in terms of fees. At some point, the university discontinued it and as chair of the campus faculty welfare committee, I got some complaints from faculty. I checked the American Express website, found that one could get more or less the same card free directly, and gave the info to those who complained.

A little music for giving credit where it is due:

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