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N.C. Attorney General Investigating Campus Cards

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RALEIGH — Those applying to colleges get a lot of information in the mail, but some of it may not be legitimate. The North Carolina Attorney General's office is looking into a company that's misleading perspective students with a questionable campus card.

A brochure advertising a Campus Card, which is similar to a debit card, was mailed out to 1.5 million high school students applying to college. The pamphlet says the card can be used to buy things and get discounts both on and off campus. It implies they need this card to get into college and that it is endorsed by many universities. Neither of those things are true, and that has parents and school officials very concerned.

Officials at N.C. State University say the school has no affiliation whatsoever with the Campus Card, nor does the school endorse it.

Since the official looking pamphlet was mailed out, schools have been answering calls from concerned parents. For $25, the Campus Card mailing promises an identification card which can be used to get credit or discounts. It also implies the card is mandatory for students.

N.C. State Admissions Director George Dixon says what the company is doing is wrong.

"Frankly it seems like a very misleading document to me," says Dixon. "They're trying to sell a debit card and using universities as a vehicle, that's wrong."

Duke admissions personnel said basically the same thing. The Campus Card is not required. That's because most schools furnish their own identification cards free of charge. In most places, only the school's card is accepted on campus.

Duke's student i.d. card director, John Diaz, says no other card is needed besides the one issued by the school.

"We don't charge for the card," Diaz said. "They don't need to waste 25 bucks buying an additional card. Our card will do everything they need to do on campus.

The company calls itself the National College Registration Board. On its web site there is a disclaimer apologizing for any confusion about the card.

N.C. Attorney General Mike Easley says that, at this point, he's not ready to say the Campus Card promotion is a scam, but he adds that the brochure is deceiving.

Easley's office is investigating the company. N.C. State plans to send out its own mailing warning students about the card. Even though the company's web site also emphasizes that they are not affiliated with any universities, there are names of dozens of colleges printed on its pamphlet.

The company says it did not intend to mislead anyone.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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