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October 25, 2014
Ithaca, NY 65°F | Clouds

Opinion

Editorial: Knowledge pays

While college-age credit card usage has increased, it needs to be met with proper, earlier education in personal finance.

The 15-percent increase in credit card use among students in the past 10 years shows growing interest in building credit. Smart purchases with a credit card during college prepare a student for the investments he or she will make in the future, such as buying a car or a first apartment.

Unfortunately, the increased card usage does not seem to be met with equally increasing understanding of financial responsibilities. Half of all college students have more than four cards, and the average credit card debt for graduating seniors totals around $3,000. When this debt is put on top of the average student loan debt, many students risk insolvency before entering the real world. Though companies may solicit people who are unprepared for the responsibility, students must ultimately stay aware of their payment plans and their purchases.

The college has some resources for students, such as the event “Smart Money: Personal Finance for Your Everyday Life,” hosted on Jan. 30 with Joseph Cheng, associate professor of finance and international business. Courses like Personal Financial Planning and Wealth Management are offered as well, albeit with prerequisites. However, extended financial education should begin before a person turns 18 and can sign onto a credit line.