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Statement of Neal Denardi - Students for Arizona PIRG at the University of Arizona on Consumer Guide for Young Adults
Students for Arizona PIRG (Arizona Public Interest Research Group) applauds Attorney General Goddard for his leadership and his recognition of the need to educate young people on consumer protection issues.
In order for college students to be good consumers, better business practices need to be promoted and deliberately deceptive marketing tactics need to be prevented.
Through Arizona PIRG’s Truth About Credit Campaign, students at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University have joined 38 other campuses across the country to clean up the disreputable marketing that occurs around credit cards on campus, as a way to enable students to be better credit consumers. Colleges and universities across the country do care about this problem. Nationally, we have negotiated principles for responsible credit card marketing together with the support of top academic groups that are concerned about ethics in higher education including American Council on Education, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Here at the University of Arizona, efforts are already underway to enhance education and protections on various consumer issues, including credit card marketing. Students for Arizona PIRG have been holding counter credit card marketing tables and building student support for campus credit protection policies. Additionally the Credit Wise Cats at the U of A have been holding Credit Seminars to educate their peers on the wise use of credit.
Unfortunately, college students are graduating with nearly $4,000 worth of credit card debt. In part, student credit card debt is a result of the credit card companies aggressively marketing credit cards to young people with terrible terms and conditions. Credit card debt combined with students facing budget cuts on campus and less student aid all too often means young people turn to their credit cards to pay for educational needs and end up in a cycle of debt.
Colleges and universities can and should use their buying power to clean up marketing of credit cards and to clean up the terms and conditions that are marketed. Many students want to build up good credit for their futures while they are in college, and many students actually need credit now to help pay for their education. The goal is not to create more obstacles to obtain a credit card, but rather to deliver good, fair credit card terms and conditions to college students.
Credit cards marketing is just one issue Students for Arizona PIRG is working on as part of our overall mission to protect young consumers. Again, I want to sincerely thank Attorney General Goddard for his leadership and continual efforts to protect young people and all Arizonans.
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