As credit card debt piles on even before graduation, the real world gets a little more frightening for college graduates.

This year’s seniors collected an average of $4,100 in credit card debt, according to a Sallie Mae study.

However, legislation that became law last week aims to limit credit card solicitation on college campuses. Effective July 1, credit card companies were prohibited from marketing to college students during orientation or class registration periods, and schools were prohibited from selling students’ names and addresses to these companies.

“Students are already burdened with education loans by the time they leave college,” Rell said in a press release. “They risk taking on even more financial pressure when they give in to the lure of credit cards made available to them right on campus. This bill will set strict parameters for credit card companies on when, where, and how they can market to students.”

The bill also requires the soliciting companies to provide credit card management education while marketing to students and it prohibits the companies from offering gifts and incentives at athletic events.

Along with these requirements the board of governors of higher education must adopt a policy by Jan. 1, 2010, to further regulate credit card marketing practices on campuses.

According to a Sallie Mae study, in 2004 an undergraduate student had an average of $2,169 in credit card debt. Four years later that number increased by $1,000 and seniors accumulated even more. This was the highest level of debt Sallie Mae has ever found, since beginning the study in 1998. The student loan company found 84 percent of college students have at least one credit card and 40 percent of students admitted to charging items knowing they couldn’t afford them.

Sen. Mary Ann Handley, D-Manchester, said she was pleased the bill was passed. The Senate Chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee said, “too much of [students’] debt is credit card debt, which appears to be caused by the unscrupulous peddling of credit cards on campus to students who are away from home for the first time, who are trying to be adults, and part of being an adult is learning fiscal responsibility and managing your money.”