No. 1 ranking is in the cards for Penn State

Penn State is ranked No. 1, but not in college football. Try credit cards.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on Monday said the central Pennsylvania university had the most open credit card accounts through a marketing agreement with its alumni association of any college or university in 2009.

Under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, credit card issuers must disclose details annually of their agreements and payments to colleges, their alumni associations or other higher education-related groups.

The Penn State Alumni Association had 74,832 total accounts opened at the end of 2009, compared with 38,358 accounts for the University of Michigan, and 36,731 for Texas A&M University.

In 2009, Penn State’s alumni association received $2,835,000 from FIA Card Services N.A., the credit card arm of Bank of America Corp. That was good only for second place, however, behind the University of Illinois Alumni Association, which was paid $3,272,457 by FIA.

The Fed collected 1,044 college credit card agreements from 17 credit card issuers, which paid out a total of $83.5 million to those higher-ed institutions. The big plastic on campus by far was dispensed by FIA, which had 1.61 million accounts opened at the end of 2009 under 906 separate agreements.

FIA, U.S. Bank and Chase Bank USA accounted for 96 percent of all college credit card agreements. What I found interesting was the identity of the fourth-largest issuer: Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, which had agreements with 13 state-owned universities, such as Lock Haven (which received $760) and Millersville ($470).

Among the local universities receiving payments from FIA were the University of Pennsylvania, which received $650,000; Villanova University, which got $400,000; and Temple University, $200,461. Drexel University received $250,000 from U.S. Bank.

Want to learn about the payments your alma mater got? The Fed has a search tool available on its website. Just follow this link:

Interns wanted

Jobs may be hard to come by, but internships remain coveted by students as a way to get their BlackBerrys in the door.

Campus Philly, the nonprofit organization that tries to connect employers with students at area colleges, is holding an online internship fair through Oct. 31 for spring internships.

Alethia Calbeck, director of employer partnerships at Campus Philly, said the organization provides that free matchmaking service throughout the year, but twice a year it makes a big push for spring and summer internships.

Why do it? Campus Philly surveys have found that of the students who wind up staying in the area after graduation, 80 percent said they’d had an internship while in college.

Last spring, 133 employers posted about 600 internship opportunities for the summer through Campus Philly’s website. About 1,600 students applied for those internships using the same site. What Calbeck could not say was how many of those internships were filled by Campus Philly applicants.

Spring internships typically begin during the last two weeks of January and end either by late April or early May. To participate in Campus Philly’s free service, go to