How Credit Scores Affect Students

By: Evelyn Saunders

Being a student can be a taxing financial struggle at times, and you may run into a situation where you'll need to get student loans. Student loans can be great tools for getting you through tough times, but it is very important to take these loans seriously and pay them off on time.

Students can sometimes be careless about paying off loans because they aren't necessarily educated about the ramifications of making a late payment or only minimum payments. You may believe that the late payment penalty fee is the only bad part of making a payment late, but you couldn't be more wrong. Late payments do generally carry a hefty fee, but they also flag you as a person who doesn't manage their finances very well or very responsibly. You interest rate can immediately go up to an astounding rate and you'll have more and more trouble making that payment. This can lead to years of debt that is almost impossible to pay off. Worse yet, you will be paying more and more interest, maybe for years, and that one time little loan becomes a total that you never would have agreed to borrow in the first place.

Only paying the minimum amount due can stretch out a loan for years, but making a late payment will hurt your credit. Most students are young and have been protected under their parents' umbrella before now. Now, you're starting to get student loans and credit cards on your own and you need to know the facts before you make any mistakes that can haunt you for years. Making even one late payment can put a blemish on your credit rating for years to come. Your credit score may not seem too important to you now, but it will, and very soon. When you get ready to finance a car, that one late payment you made back in college can make your interest rate go up enough to cost you every month for the length of the loan. You will most likely be required to put more money down to purchase the car.

When you buy a house, it will be the same story. You may not qualify for the best rates, regardless of your income. Even a fraction of a percent can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars every year for up to thirty years. It could be even longer if the higher payments strap you enough that you end up refinancing and extending the loan.

Be organized and practice sticking to a budget. Make any student loan payments that you have on time, preferably before the due date, and pay more than the minimum every time. Pay off debt as quickly as possible and make sacrifices to do so. Keep your credit score as high as possible by having a checking and a savings account, take out as few student loans as possible and never ever make a late payment. Stay on track and you'll have a happy secure financial future ahead of you.

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