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Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is right to be asking questions about the unholy alliance between credit card companies and some state universities. Any time a public institution is granting market exclusivity in exchange for millions of dollars, the deal deserves scrutiny.

The relationships are, on their face, troubling. Universities are supposed to teach students to be responsible with their personal finances, but Florida State University and the University of South Florida are among the institutions that are letting banks use the university logo as a lure to both current and former students.

These are big-money deals. Bank of America will pay FSU's Seminole Boosters $10.7-million over seven years and USF's alumni association at least $4.1-million over the same period. The University of Florida has its own $10-million deal with Chase Bank, though it at least had the sense to prohibit direct marketing to students.

USF alumni director John Harper defends the practice, in part, by noting that students are deluged with credit card offers anyway. That's true, but the reason banks are willing to pay top dollar for a university logo credit card is they know it works. The logo also carries with it an undeniable stamp of university approval.

As Consumer Warning Network founder Terry Smiljanich told the Times: "Universities should not be in the role of encouraging students to run up debt so colleges could make money. That seems totally contrary to what a university should be."

For credit card companies to treat college students like easy prey is a disturbing enough statement about corporate America. But when universities themselves become part of the solicitation, they are treating their students like a form of collateral. That's indecent.

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This article needs to go to the mad cow.

The school is getting 4.2 million dollars to allow a bank to send credit card offers to current/former student.  This sounds like a good idea to me.  It's not like they are forcing people to sign up for them.

If you're stupid enough to sign up for a credit card because it has a shiny USF logo and rack up a huge credit debt that's all it is.  You're stupid.  The university is allowing companies to send the same trash mail we already receive, but this one just has a logo on it.

Do people like this writer actually believe some one with a college degree would be so stupid to uncontrollably use a credit card just because it has a collegiate logo on it?

And then at the end trash corporations as a whole for being evil.  I wish this writer would experience life with out all these “evil†corporations.

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