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2023 College banking and credit card agreements

Many colleges directly offer financial products to students and market other products that are offered by third-party financial service providers. When colleges do this, students trust and rely on their schools’ offering or marketing of these products as financial advice and may be influenced by what they could perceive as their endorsement to sign up for financial products and services that are more expensive than other available options. However, colleges may also have independent interests from those of their students and may not face competitive pressure to lower fees or provide low-cost products. This can lead to students paying more for financial products than they would on the open market in certain cases: for instance, many deposit accounts offered to students still include non-sufficient funds fees and overdraft fees even though accounts without such fees are increasingly available on the open market.

Policymakers, along with federal auditors, banking regulators, and other agencies, have identified risks associated with marketing practices related to college-sponsored financial products and developed laws and policies to address those risks. However, many colleges continue to offer and market financial products in ways, including through online and email advertisements, that may mislead students under certain circumstances.

This report presents new research and data on certain financial products that colleges market to their students in partnership with third-party financial service providers, including deposit accounts, prepaid cards, and credit cards. This report also serves as the fourteenth annual report to Congress on college credit cards pursuant to the CARD Act.

Full report

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