FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
OKLAHOMA CITY (April 19, 2007) - Although lawmakers voted this week to restrict the sale of college students' private information to credit card companies, state Rep. Joe Dorman said additional safeguards are still needed.
"We took a step in the right direction today, but too many loopholes remain that allow credit card companies to target college freshmen," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "The door is still open for teenagers to be lured into a debt spiral that will take years to escape."
Senate Bill 496, by state Sen. Jim Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City) and state Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City), cleared the state House today and makes it illegal for any state college or university to "enter into any agreement" to "sell student data to any creditor for purposes of marketing consumer credit to students.
The legislation passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 90-5 vote and now returns to the state Senate. Dorman was among those supporting the bill, but he warned that it contains several loopholes that need to be closed.
"The school foundations, which are private entities, are usually the groups that actually sell student information and they are not covered by this bill," Dorman said. "The foundations can continue to make millions of dollars selling that private information and we need to put a stop to that."
He said additional restrictions on credit-card marketing are also needed.
"The bill does not prevent credit card companies from buying a vendor spot on campus and targeting college students," Dorman said. "We need to restrict that activity. Right now, too many students have easy access to credit cards that parents don't know about until the kid is overwhelmed by debt."
Credit card companies often issue cards to students who do not have any significant income because it is assumed the parents will ultimately cover the debt, Dorman noted."Senate Bill 496 was a good start, but it doesn't eliminate the entire problem," Dorman said. "I hope the Legislature will enact additional safeguards as soon as possible."