Some critics have said that agreements between lenders and colleges or affiliated groups can be damaging to consumers, but they may also be able to save them money.
Deals between colleges and universities or groups are often used to generate revenue that is put toward marketing costs, according to a report from USA Today. However, the total amount generated dropped to more than $73.3 million in 2010, down from the more than $84.5 million the previous year, due in large part to new federal regulations on the way those under 21 can obtain new credit cards.
"The new laws regulate marketing to students, but the special card offers still need to be monitored," said Edmund Mierzwinski, consumer program director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit consumer watchdog organization. "While some schools have converted their contracts to simply allow card access to alumni, undergrad students remain a holy grail for card companies."
Many critics worry about that type of marketing because efforts to reduce debt among those who are still in college are having some effect. Currently, the average undergrad leaves school with thousands of dollars in credit card debt across several accounts in addition to their student loans.