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Are Student Loans Better Than Credit Cards?

By Vanessa McHooley

When applying for student loans, it's so important for prospective college students to calculate their finances as best they can to receive the appropriate funding. From tuition and books to room and board, living expenses and food, students should make sure to secure the funds they actually will need to get them through each semester at college.

By applying for the correct amount, students won't find themselves in a bind or get themselves into a credit card nightmare.

Way too many college students these days get into big trouble with credit cards. It's unfortunate that students too inexperienced to know better receive enticing credit card offers in the mail. Usually when a credit card offer looms over a student, it's like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit. The student grabs the credit card offer without thinking ahead. Credit cards oftentimes appear to be a quick fix or a type of "free money, and they then become the remedy students think they need.

Student Loans versus Credit Cards

If anything, it's the opposite. Like student loans, credit card debt must be paid back. There's a huge difference though. Student loans usually are taken out with fixed interest rates, depending on the type of loan and a students credit rating, amount of loan, repayment terms, etc.

However, there's usually a catch when students receive those "amazing credit card offers. The catch is sky-high finance charges, some as high as 22 percent! However, oftentimes students don't think about the finance charges when they accept the credit card offers. It's kind of like, "I'll think about that later."

Some students who haven't taken out enough student loans to cover their college expenses resort to credit cards to pay for necessities, books and even rent! They"ll use their credit cards to take out cash advances, which usually have even higher finance charges than by simply charging.

Never-ending Cycle of Debt

There are students who accept more than one credit card offer. After hitting the limit on one credit card, it's easy to accept another and then another, and so on. With the high interest rates and finance charges attached to these credit card offers, students easily can rake up more than they bargain for. When students pay off credit cards by only paying minimum monthly payments, they are making their financial situation worse. Finance charges accrue month after month. It could take almost a lifetime to pay off the credit card bills.

About The Author

Vanessa McHooley

This article is distributed by NextStudent. At NextStudent, we believe that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and we're dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding as easy as possible. We invite you to learn more about student loans at


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