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The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 was designed to increase consumer safety on this type of account, but a new study has found one group specifically protected by the law hasn't necessarily been safeguarded.

Despite numerous provisions of the CARD Act designed to protect them from lenders' marketing tactics, it seems many college students have seen little change in receiving offers for new cards, according to a new study from Professor Jim Hawkins of the University of Houston Law Center. Of particular concern is that 68 percent of students under the age of 21 - the demographic specifically protected by the law - have received offers in their own name by mail during the past 12 months, and another 40 percent say they've seen lenders give gifts to college students, which is expressly prohibited by the rule.

Further, though the law requires that those under 21 either have an adult co-signer or provide proof of adequate income, 27 percent said they were able to list their student financing as part of their income to qualify without a co-signer, the report said. In addition, the terms of marketing agreements between lenders and universities or associated groups were largely unaffected by the regulation, with 64 percent remaining unchanged between 2009 and 2010 despite the heavier regulation. And though many were also terminated during this time, only two specifically cited the CARD Act as the reason for this action.

"If Congress was concerned about people under 21 receiving credit card offers in the mail, it could directly prevent that conduct by making it illegal to mail anyone under 21 a credit card offer," Hawkins said. "Similarly, if Congress was concerned about abusive terms in the agreements between credit card companies and colleges, it could directly forbid those abusive terms instead of just requiring companies disclose the agreements."

Statistics have shown that, overall, college kids are now graduating with slightly less card debt than they had before the law was passed, but the average young adult still leaves school with thousands of dollars in debt spread across several accounts, in addition to their often burdensome education financing, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.