College Students and Their Credit Card Debt

It is no surprise that the average college graduate in America finish school with tens or hundreds of thousands worth in debt.  What you may not have suspected is that credit card debt can make up a good chunk of this debt.  With interest rates the way they are, this portion of the debt will grow faster than the student loans, but students also have to deal with credit card debt while they are in school.

Credit card interest rates are generally particularly high for college students, with shorter credit histories resulting in lower credit scores.  They also tend to have a lower credit limit, which will cost them more in fees in the long run and does little to help them keep from spending too much of this money they do not have.

Unfortunately, many students also have credit card debt, not because they irresponsibly spend on frivolous luxuries, but because they need to buy books or food that their student loans or scholarships may not cover.

That being said, the best way for students to keep away from credit card debt is for them not to use credit cards.
If you already have credit card debt, paying it with only the minimum payments will accrue a great deal of interest.  If you can comfortably use larger payments, it will help limit the amount you will have to pay in total.
If this is not possible, there are ways to deal with your credit card debt that will be cheaper in the end, such as consolidation or negotiations, but many college students end up continually acquiring interest on the debt well after graduation.

College is basically a step out into the real world from your childhood.  For most, it is the time to start becoming an adult without having to incur all of the responsibility or repercussions.  Credit cards are just one part of the adult world that college students can experiment with.  Credit cards are best reserved for after you have an income.

If you are under twenty-one, you need a parent to co-sign with you for a credit card anyway.  Working with them to learn to control your credit card usage could help to limit your debt in the long run.

If you are a college student with credit card debt, you are not alone, and there are certainly things you can do to deal with it, but the best thing to do would be to avoid it.

Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, having lived in North Carolina her whole life. At UNC, she is a declared Religious Studies major, and intends to study some form of writing as well during her time and Chapel Hill. She plans to graduate in 2014, after participating in undergraduate research and a study abroad program.

Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.

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