Student loans and credit cards make up the two most dangerous, and often difficult to avoid, debt traps for college students. While some amount of borrowing for college can make life easier for students, too much debt can make life nearly impossible for graduates. The same goes for credit cards. Having a card is great for emergencies and your credit rating, but running up a large balance while in college can really hurt, especially for students who were approved during days of easy credit and are now seeing rates soar and credit limits plummet.
However, Congress is working to make things easier for current credit card holders and also to make the choice of whether or not to open a credit account less nerve-wracking for new college students. Legislation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate seeks to create a "credit card holders' bill of rights," curbing confusing and predatory practices by banks issuing credit cards. While the bills have received bipartisan support, including a ringing endorsement from President Obama, there is still some concern about possible backlash in the form of even more stringent credit requirements for people who want to open credit card accounts.
Still, picking up a poorly screen printed t-shirt along with a new line of credit with an 18+ percent interest rate is a campus tradition unlikely to be missed by many. With college students' credit card debt still on the rise as of 2008 and relief from private loans still nowhere in sight, any new consumer debt protection will likely be welcomed by many college students and recent graduates.
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