Texas alumni groups selling students’ personal information to financial institutions
Colleges and alumni associations throughout Texas are making money from banks and credit card companies by selling them the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of alumni, faculty, ticket holders, donors and students, according to reporting by KENS Channel 5 in San Antonio.
The report details deals worth $4.7 million in Texas this year, between Bank of America and Chase Bank, and alumni associations at the University of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
FIA Card Services, the TV station reported, paid $22,958 to the University of Texas Pan American Alumni Association, and $2,364,754 to the UT aluni group Texas Exes received from FIA Card Services.
Since 1992, Texas Exes has sold information to Bank of America without offering notifying alumni. According to the report, “the contract also allows the Association to make money when account holders don’t pay off their credit card balance. So when a user defaults, Texas Exes makes money.” Texas Exes is guaranteed at least $6 million from the deal for providing the names and addresses of 368,767 alumni.
Other alumni associations making big money off of selling information include Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students, which has a 10-year, $17 million contract with Bank of America and recently provided 257,840 names and addresses of former students. The Texas Tech Alumni Association has a seven-year, $3.3 million contract with Chase Bank, providing the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of 193,000 students, faculty, alumni, and donors.
Tam Jackson, a graduate of Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in psychology, told the Texas Independent she was concerned about not being told ahead of time if her information was being sold. “I personally am not comfortable with my personal information is disclosed without my explicit permission,” said Jackson.
Beyond the privacy issues, Jackson also said that she had reservations about the involvement of Bank of America. She also has a son enrolled at Texas A&M, and said she’d advise him to “not even consider getting a credit card with Bank of America due to their predatory practices.”
“The Association is willing to sell out our student to a corporation, but isn’t willing to let their own departments contact them,” said another former student, who tried unsuccessfully to get a contact list to send a newsletter to other alumni.
If students or alumni would like to remove their names from mailing lists, Texas Exes and Texas A&M Association of Former Students suggested contacting their organizations directly.
Documents posted with the KENS story detail deals of 1,000 alumni associations and financial institutions across the country, as well as the Texas Exes Affinity agreement, Texas A&M Alumni Affinity agreement, and Texas Tech Alumni Affinity agreement.