NORTH JERSEY -- College students can no longer be hassled by credit card companies on New Jersey public college campuses thanks to a new legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie Thursday.
The law was first proposed by state Sen. Kevin O'Toole (R-40) in January and “prohibits a public institution of higher education in this State 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.”
When O'Toole originally proposed the measure, he said credit card companies who solicit students with free gifts like t-shirts, blankets or vouchers are using a “bait and switch” tactic.
“This tactic leads young people to open accounts they cannot keep solvent, which can bury them in debt caused by unsuspectingly high interest rates,” he said.
“They lure you in and won't disclose all of the pertinent facts, that within six months it goes up to 23 or 24 percent (interest),” he said. “I think that’s unfair and borderline deceptive.”
O'Toole hopes that this law will reduce the temptation for students to accumulate large debts at a young age,” he said.
While the measure was awaiting Christie’s signature last month, Montclair State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard Gingerich said he “vehemently supported” the legislation, adding the university banned creditors from visiting the campus in the late 90's.
“It placed students at risk of a bad credit foundation,” he said. “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.”
“Students are going to build enough debt from their education and additional debt is just not good common sense,” he said.