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News from DCA - Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tali Aronsky / Elizabeth Miller (DCA): (212) 487-4283
Michael Arena (CUNY): (212) 794-5685



DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS LAUNCHES 'CONSUMER CAMPUS' WEB SITE TO EDUCATE NEW YORK CITY COLLEGE STUDENTS

Consumer Tips Address Topics Critical to College Students;
CUNY System Joins Initiative as Lead Partner Connecting Site to Nearly 500,000 Students

Today the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) launched its redesigned 'Consumer Campus' Web site retooled to focus on consumer issues New York City's undergraduate and graduate students often face, such as identity theft and purchasing a used car. As lead partner, The City University of New York (CUNY) added Consumer Campus to its Web site, thus connecting to nearly 500,000 students.

Consumer Campus is an online resource of financial education and consumer protection information targeted to address the financial opportunities and hazards faced by the City's post-secondary student population. The "curriculum" addresses the consumer challenges students face each day, from credit card applications and student loans to online shopping and electronics purchases. Students can log on to DCA's Consumer Campus site at www.nyc.gov/consumercampus.

"It's no secret that college students are a rich market for financial products and services, bombarded often daily with confusing, inappropriate or even predatory promotions. An early mistake, particularly one involving credit, can saddle students with mountains of debt and long-term damage to their credit scores," said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "Thanks to CUNY, DCA now has an even greater opportunity to directly link students to the right information and resources so they can graduate on sound financial footing."

"We are encouraging CUNY students from all 23 campuses in New York City to use the Consumer Campus website. Especially in this difficult and unforgiving economy, students must have access to valuable information to help them make cost-efficient choices as they pursue higher education. We are enormously pleased to partner with DCA on this vitally needed initiative," said Jay Hershenson, Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the CUNY Board of Trustees.

Consumer Campus outlines the following:

  • Credit cards - Understanding the fine print of credit card terms and how to use your credit card wisely
  • Student loan basics - Tips on student loans
  • Cell phones - Tips on choosing a cell phone service provider
  • Online shopping – Protect yourself from 'scam artists' posing as online retailers
  • Identity theft - Detect whether you've been the victim of identity theft

For many students, tuition expenses alone can put a strain on their budget. This year, it's never been easier for students to get financial help. The City's new Financial Education Network Directory, launched earlier this year by DCA's Office of Financial Empowerment, is easily accessible and searchable online at www.nyc.gov/ofe. It lists free and low-cost financial education classes, workshops, hotlines, and one-on-one counseling services available throughout the City. The Directory is searchable by borough and lists languages in which financial counseling is offered. Hard copies of the Directory are available by calling 311.

DCA enforces the Consumer Protection Law and other related business laws throughout New York City. Ensuring a fair and vibrant marketplace for consumers and businesses alike, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories. Through targeted outreach, partnerships with community and trade organizations, and informational materials, DCA educates consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. For more information, call 311 or visit DCA online at www.nyc.gov/consumers.

The City University of New York is the nation's largest urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as the Free Academy, CUNY comprises 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 231,000 degree-credit students and more than 231,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University's academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree.