Students need good credit habits for college

Going to college marks the beginning of a new chapter in a young person’s life. However, new students should be careful that this new beginning isn’t marred by credit card debt.

Jeanne Salvatore, vice president and spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute (III), said students may find it harder this year because the costs of goods and credit card interest rates have gone up.

"If they’re not careful, by the end of the year, many students will have dug themselves into a financial hole that will be very hard to get out of," Salvatore said.

In order to avoid being weighed down by credit card debt in their college years, there are a number of tips new students can follow. One of the most important things they can do is to develop good financial habits, which would include paying their bills on time and sticking to a budget.

However, if students do find themselves in financial trouble, the III recommends they consider credit counseling as an option. In doing so, students should make sure to take advantage of the services offered by their college or university.

According to a recent survey from Sallie Mae, credit card debt is becoming more of an issue for students. The survey shows that in 2008 the average credit card debt for a graduating college senior was $4,100, compared to $2,900 in 2004.

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