Education, Simple Living/Downshifting

University of Shame: Credit Card Offers for Alumni

Today as I was checking my snail mail I came across a really interesting letter. It looked like a credit card offer, but it had my former university’s alumni association logo on the top left corner. There was a “0% APR” teaser on the right-hand side, typical of credit card offers.

What was going on here? I opened the letter, very curious and a bit astounded, and found that the University of Minnesota (where I obtained my illustrious degree years ago) had teamed up with MasterCard to offer and promote a new 0% Introductory APR card for a year. For years the university has sent letter after letter wanting me to donate to their alumni association. Apparently my 5-figure education was not enough. Since they couldn’t win me over through repeated requests for donations they decided to offer me a credit card instead.

That’s a great message. Graduate, work hard, spend 10+ years of your future earnings on a degree and then go out in to the world and rack up some credit card debt. Become a consumer! This is why you are really here on this earth – not to contribute to your field, but to give more money to large banks in the form of interest because we want you to shop!

I’m beyond disgusted.

If you think for one moment that our education system has not been corrupted by this enormous, pervasive system of credit and debt imprisonment, think again.

Have you ever seen anything like this? Has this alumni/credit relationship existed for some time? I hadn’t heard of it before today, and I really hope it’s not the beginning of a trend.

Oh, and to the University of Minnesota: I do not use credit cards.

Update: Check out this link. Apparently this is a new practice and universities stand to gain millions from selling students names to credit card companies. Schools can potentially earn more if a student uses the card and has outstanding debt. So it is now a university’s incentive to get students to sign up from these credit cards and maintain a balance.


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