Coogs still seeking cards
A recent survey by a UH professor found that almost half of 300 freshman, polled in November, had credit cards issued in their name.
The survey, released earlier this month, was conducted by Jim Hawkins, an assistant professor at the UH Law Center.
Aiming to curtail the number of students going into debt, Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act in 2009.
However, by the end of the Fall 2010 semester, the survey found that 49 percent of freshmen at UH had a credit card.
“The act should make it harder for people under 21 to get credit cards,” Hawkins said, “because it requires someone under 21 to either have a cosigner or have an ‘independent means of repaying any obligation arising from the proposed extension of credit.’”
The act also forbids credit card companies from mailing pre-approval offers to anyone under 25 or offering tangible gifts to students on college campuses in exchange for signing up for a credit card with them.
The survey found that 64 percent of the students polled planned to pay their own debt while 21 percent of students believe someone else will pay it for them.
“My survey found that some people are using cosigners and some are using income/assets from a variety of sources to apply for credit cards,” Hawkins said.
According to Hawkins’ survey, 29 percent of students counted student loan proceeds as income when applying for credit cards.
“The Act, and the regulations promulgated to implement it, allow credit card companies to consider a student’s assets,” Hawkins said.
“A student could take the proceeds of a student loan and deposit it in a bank account and then count the proceeds as an asset on a credit card application.”
Brittany Prewit, an economics junior, does not have a credit card because she believes buying things on credit is spending money you do not have.
“I would only get one to build credit,” Prewit said. “It’s hard to get credit otherwise. They’re good for emergencies too, but they aren’t for everyday use.”
However, Prewit is barely in the majority. According to the survey, 42 percent of students say they need a credit card in college.