Saturday, 14 January 2012

College Student Credit Card Debt Statistics

Key statistics tell a story - Credit cards for college students.
Credit is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be incredibly freeing: by just swiping your card, you can instantly buy something that you otherwise could not necessarily afford if you were to pay cash.

On the other hand, credit can also quickly become a weight around your neck that weighs you down and keeps you from living a worry-free life.

Those people who are able to balance their credit card usage in an even-keeled way are the most fortunate of them all. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Tens of millions of people are carrying more credit card debt than they are comfortable with, and it costs them dearly.

College students, in particular, can easily fall victim to irresponsible credit card usage. This is probably due to the fact that for most college students who have credit cards, this is the first time in their lives that they have really be given access to so much buying power at once. On top of that, college students face a number of very legitimate expenses that need to be paid if they are to stay in school.

If you are a college student who is considering getting a card - or are the parent of one - it is a good idea to know first what you are getting into. You also need to consider your other options before applying for a card.

If you are looking for the right credit card for a college student, these key statistics tell a story about college debt:

1. The average college student carries over $3,000 in card debt:

A 2009 study by Sallie Mae, the college-financing company, found that the average undergraduate student carried $3,717 in credit card debt in 2008. This was the highest level ever since Sallie Mae began taking the annual survey 11 years prior.

This statistic indicates, of course, that college students are increasingly relying on their cards to make purchases for everyday items.

2. Grads carry even more debt:

The same study found that graduating college seniors who had at least one card carried an average of $4,138 in credit card debt in 2008. This figure was up an astonishing 44% from 4 years earlier.

3. College expenses are on the rise:

While college students have long had to deal with keeping their own credit card spending under control, they are now facing more challenges than ever.

Over the past 10 years, tuition and other fees at public colleges have risen 50%, according to a College Board study. College-related expenses are on the rise, and many students increasingly rely upon their cards for covering those expenses.

4. Credit card companies are now prohibited from soliciting new students directly:

Still interested in a card? That's okay, maybe you (or your child) are going to be the responsible type.

Still, there is one other problem: it is harder to qualify for a card than ever before. New Congressional legislation makes it illegal for credit card companies to solicit the business of anybody under the age of 21. Of course, you can still qualify for a card in that case, but you will need a qualified co-signer for your application who will agree to be responsible for the debts you incur.

5. Students can consider prepaid debit cards as a smart alternative to credit:

A smart alternative to unsecured credit for college students is the prepaid debit card. As the name implies, you purchase or prepay for the cards, then use them like a credit card. This way, you will not be able to run up any unsecured debt. Furthermore, there is no application to fill out - and your card usage does not reflect (positively or negatively) on your credit report.

Consider these statistics as you look into a credit card for college students.

Thank you for reading and good luck...

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