Alumni association receives platinum rewards

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By Miranda Scotland

The Ryerson Mastercard may have cardholders frowning at interest payments, but it has Ryerson’s alumni association smiling.

The group has an agreement with Mastercard issuer MBNA Canada that gives the alumni association a percentage of the company’s profits.

For a few weeks each year, they provide the credit card company with a location on campus where they can sign passersbys up for a credit card in return.

Tyler Forkes, executive director for alumni relations, said the association uses the money to fund a vast majority of alumni services and to provide the RSU with funding for bursaries.

Toby Whitfield, President of Ryerson Students’ Union, said the alumni association gives them $10,000 for bursaries, which they hand out in January. The application for the bursaries can be found online and the deadline is Nov. 5th.

“Any student can apply that is in financial need and has made a contribution to their community, whether it’s the community on campus or community at large,” he said.

But despite the deal’s financial gains, there are some who aren’t sure the partnership is a good thing.

Otiena Ellwand, a third-year journalism student, said she worries about MBNA Canada having access to impressionable students.

“I think they are trying to take advantage of first-year students who don’t know any better. Who are like ‘Oh I’m going to university that means I need to get a credit card too,’ when you don’t really need a credit card ever,” she said.

Whitfield said he agrees that having MBNA Canada on campus isn’t ideal.

“It’s not great because we know interest rates are high,” he said.

“We would love a scenario where students don’t have to take on student debt to be able to go to university but at the same time, we know that’s not a reality for many students.”

Forkes, on the other hand, said he is not concerned.

“I have pretty good faith that Ryerson students are wise characters,” he said, adding that keeping credit cards out of the school won’t stop students from seeing and using them.

Photo: Tim Alamenciak

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