Professors John M. Barron and Michael E. Staten's article in Vol. 34, N. 3 of the Journal of Student Financial Aid, "Usage of Credit Cards Received through College Student Marketing Programs," purports to "provide benchmark measures of college student credit card usage" (p. 7). Based on empirical analysis of proprietary industry data, they conclude that "There is no evidence... that young adults who received credit cards through student-marketing programs are misusing cards so frequently as to warrant singling them out as a group for special protections from marketing solicitations" (p. 25). Their key assertions, which portray on-campus credit card marketing campaigns and rising student debt levels as relatively benign trends that merely mirror patterns of older adults, contrast sharply with a growing body of academic research on this topic. Accordingly, the central question of this essay is whether the authors' conclusions are based on a through examination of the numerous empirical research studies on this important topic. If such a thorough review of literature was not referenced, then questions could be raised regarding the value of this effort and the intellectual credibility of the conclusions offered by the authors. Indeed, we believe that it is imperative to examine the systematic flaws of this study in order to better inform the higher credit card debt.

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