The University’s Alumni Association joined with MBNA America Bank this year to offer students a GW Alumni Association MasterCard.
The credit card offers students a credit line of up to $5,000, a no finance charge option on new purchases, low minimum monthly payments and no annual fee.
Marie Steeves, director of alumni benefits and services, said part of the proceeds from the card go into alumni programming, which includes reunions and Homecoming activities. The Alumni Association is planning to use part of the proceeds from the card to fund scholarships.
Though the Alumni Association endorses the MasterCard, officials said the University itself does not.
Al Ingle, GW’s associate vice president for business affairs, said departments and staff at GW often operate without the consent of the University, and without feedback from the students.
“I think there should be an agreement between the Alumni Association and the University specifically so we are not improperly soliciting business,” Ingle said. “We should have a joint venture, simply because it makes good business sense.”
Steeves said approximately 1,200 alumni have the card. She estimates that 100 to 150 students have the card.
“The last thing I need is another temptation to spend money,” junior Sarah Ries said. “It didn’t seem like the GW MasterCard had any advantages over any other cards.”
“I received my application in the mail and it just looked like a good idea, because it had no annual percentage fee,” junior Heather Roark said. “My mom said this would be a good thing for me to get because I don’t have a credit card right now.”
The GW MasterCard application included a list of frequently asked questions. It specifically addressed the question of why students need their own credit card if they currently use their parents’ card.
“After graduation, a good credit rating will typically help you get more credit for big purchases like cars, major appliances and home. A good way to establish a successful credit history is with a credit card in your own name,” the literature said.