When student loans count as income

Student finance writer Zac Bissonnette writes why students under 21 have continued to get credit cards despite not having independent proof of income or a co-signer :

A survey conducted at the University of Houston Law Center found that … 29% of the under-21-year-old respondents who had signed up for cards since starting school in the fall said that they had used student loan proceeds as part of the income they reported to card issuers when they applied.

But does that make any sense? How is owing money proof that you can pay credit-card obligations? On what planet is being tens of thousands of dollars in debt the same as having income?