Life Does Go On Without Credit Cards

A year or so ago we talked about the drive of credit card companies to hook college and university students on their cards, and to have them broke as soon as possible. It’s their training ground for life, and they pay literally tens of millions of dollars to colleges to be able to buy their marketing lists and sell their products on campus.

But here’s something different and quite surprising: A couple of weeks ago the University of Alberta announced that they were going to be discontinuing taking credit cards for tuition fees. The U of A made the move, according to their statements, to be more fiscally responsible. In other words – to save the huge merchant fees they pay to Visa and MasterCard. Want to take a guess of how much the U of A pays in merchant fees a year? $1.3 million! Now think about all those retailers and what they pay because you know that’s included in the prices they charge.

Their hands aren’t totally clean as they have previously done work with MBNA and have sold their student lists to credit card companies. But I’m prepared to forgive and forget, because this is just great news and Phyllis Clark, the V.P. of Finance is absolutely my hero of the month!

Sure, they did it for selfish reason, but I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth: A major institution in Canada is actually going to stop contributing to having students go broke! THAT is great news. Education should include not contributing to the financial ruin of their students – simple as that.

And a note to the person from the student union whaling, whining and complaining how awful this was, and that most students don’t have any other payment options: Think before talking!

Other payment options include: Debit cards, cash (remember what that is), cheques or money orders. If he was alluding to the fact that students don’t have the money, the comment is even more ridiculous: Think part-time job, think saving BEFORE deciding to enroll for the next year, think budgeting or using student loans for course fees – no, not all students use the money for what it was intended…I know that’s shocking.

If that spokesperson believes huge student credit card debt is a great idea – go get a cash advance off your card. It’s THE best way to go broke but surely your job isn’t to help students get ripped charging stuff at 19% is it?
So congratulations to the U of A, and I hope they become the first of many to set this example in weaning student off credit cards and setting a financially responsible example! Now if they could just take the next step and implement a policy that they will not take money from credit card companies, sell their student lists or help them with promotions on campus…

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