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Universities - A Public Relations Nightmare

For_sale_sign How about a scary story for Halloween? 

The story is about how public universities such as Iowa State, The University of Iowa and Northern Iowa University (and no doubt yours in whatever state you live in) sell our kids.  Or, perhaps, "what" they are selling our kids.

It's a public relations nightmare for the schools.

For any of us...debt is a burden.  For kids, debt can be disaster.  But, that is just what the public universities, in the guise of their alumni groups, are trying to sell our kids.

It comes in the form of easy to obtain credit cards bearing the logo of the various schools.  The cards, pushed on campus and through the mail (using data given or sold to Bank of America), are the students entry into...convenience.  And...debt.

Man_money And the universities are defending their actions.  "The school needs money..."

The other public relations issue is how the state created, non-profit Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation works.  Over the past five years the organization has paid colleges 1.5 million for processing student loans.  And the group holds roughly 3 billion dollars in loans made to 195,000 borrowers while making a 121 million dollar profit over the past four years.

Something stinks...and the Governor, legislators and the Attorney General think so too as they are calling for investigations.  Meanwhile the University of Iowa has just announced a major fund raising campaign for the school.  Bad timing and poor public relations.

Bank_repo_sign Imagine getting two pieces of paper at graduation.  One is the diploma and the other...a notice of repossession.  All courtesy of your state university.

Don't you think they could do better?

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications