Student banking reports to Congress

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 instructs the Bureau to monitor for risks to consumers in the offering or provision of consumer financial products or services, particularly when those products pose a disproportionate risk to traditionally underserved populations.

2016 Student Banking Annual Report to Congress

Our 2016 report monitors the growth and impacts of financial products offered by or in conjunction with colleges, specifically focusing on marketing agreements for college-sponsored deposit and prepaid accounts and college-sponsored credit cards.


Figure 1

College credit card marketing agreement trends

In each year from 2009 through 2015, there were consistent declines in: (a) the number of college credit card agreements; (b) the total number of associated credit card accounts open at year-end; and (c) the amount paid by issuers to institutions and affiliates. In contrast, 33 issuers were parties to such agreements in effect in 2015, the same as in the previous year.* Further, 2015 saw fewer new accounts than either 2013 or 2014, but has yet to record a similar decline to the first three metrics.



Source: College credit card marketing agreement trends 2009–2015 | CSV
Date published: December 2016

* Two issuers submitted data for the first time this year; however, they appear to have had agreements in past years, suggesting that a comprehensive retroactive submission from them would result in minor alterations to previous year data.


Key findings from the 2016 report

  • Despite new student protections and the availability of safer and more affordable accounts, some of the nation’s largest colleges and universities continue to maintain deals with large banks that allow for the marketing of products that may be inconsistent with the best financial interests of their students, and that contain costly features.
  • Publicly available agreements show many students face high fees when using college-sponsored banking products.
  • Under a general marketing agreement that does not restrict certain fees, a large college or university could expect its students to collectively pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in overdraft fees alone.
  • The Bureau identified dozens of general marketing agreements that may feature accounts with higher fees or fewer protections than widely available alternatives that are safer or more affordable, including accounts currently in use at hundreds of other colleges.
  • Many colleges fail to ensure they are in position to evaluate products offered to students and oversee the execution of their campus banking marketing agreements. Such missed opportunities mitigate colleges’ ability to ensure their programs are in the best financial interest of their students.
  • The market for college credit cards continues to decline. The latest data for year-end 2015 show low-water marks for active agreements, open accounts, and payments from issuers.
  • Concurrent with the publication of this report, the Bureau has published a new compliance bulletin to assist colleges seeking to understand their obligations under the CARD Act and Regulation Z related to the publication of college credit card agreements. This bulletin builds on previous Bureau reports finding that many of the largest colleges and universities do not publish credit card agreements on their websites or make them available to students and the public upon request, creating high risks of non-compliance with the law.

Concurrent with the publication of this report, the Bureau has published a new compliance bulletin to assist colleges  seeking to understand their obligations under the CARD Act and Regulation Z related to the publication of college credit card agreements. This bulletin builds on previous Bureau reports finding that many of the largest colleges and universities do not publish credit card agreements on their websites or make them available to students and the public upon request, creating high risks of non-compliance with the law.