College Finance 101: Students Should Keep Debt under Control

By Carter, Kelley Louise | Ebony, September 2007 | Go to article overview

College Finance 101: Students Should Keep Debt under Control


Carter, Kelley Louise, Ebony


Lynnette Khalfani remembers it all too well.

It was the fall of 1986, and she was entering her freshmen year at the University of California-Irvine. She was moving into her dorm room when she first saw them.

"Right there on my bed, in my room, there were applications for Visa and MasterCard. There wasn't a sheet on the bed. There wasn't something that told mc about the campus environment. There was something that told me about credit cards; everywhere I went there were things like that," she says. "When I paid for my books at the bookstore, they gave me my receipts and stuffed the bag with credit card applications. When we went to the African-American student union, it was posted on the walls, with those detachable take-off applications. They were everywhere."

Khalfani learned her lesson the hard way. Like many incoming college students, she jumped right in, applying for credit cards and student loans, and running up a high debt for both of them. Ultimately, she racked up about $100,000 in credit-card debt and $40,000 in student loans.

Many other college graduates face a similar debt burden. On average, a college grad leaves school with about $20,000 in student-loan debt. And if they've gone to grad school, the average debt jumps to $32,000. Professional specialty schools--such as law and medical school--can leave students with six figures in student-loan debt.

Soon after graduation, Khalfani, now 39, tackled her debt aggressively and paid off the entire load in three years. Today, she is a money coach who has authored step-by-step books, including Zero Debt for College Grads, which outlines ways to avoid or quickly get off the disastrous path that she once trod.

For many college students, getting a credit card--or two or three or more--is a rite of passage. It is a chance to spend excessively and without permission. And sadly, it is also a way to get into a lot of financial trouble, trouble that can take years to fix.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit organization that's based in Washington, D.C., credit card companies send out 5 to 6 billion credit card applications to Americans each year. When it comes to marketing, college students are a relatively easy group to target because many do not have credit and, as a group, they are financially vulnerable. For the most part, college campuses are lagging when it comes to educating students on financial literacy, says financial education specialist Patricia Stallworth.

"We need a commercial much like the ones they have for medicines, which warn you of the side effects," says Stallworth, who also is president of iWorth Inc. "Once I hear all that can go wrong, I don't want any part of those medicines,"

Kelly Tanabe, co-author of Sallie Mae's How to Pay for College: A Practical Guide For Families, says that even if colleges added consumer education to their curriculum, or as part of mandatory seminars, it likely wouldn't be enough to counter the onslaught of credit card applications that confront college students. "A lot of the colleges think that [financial literacy] is not something that a college should be teaching, but it's something that parents should be doing," Tanabe says. "But when parents are spending beyond their means, there's not much that you can expect" from the students.

Some universities have caught up and are taking a more progressive approach to helping students deal more effectively with debt. "We teach kids how to make money, but we don't teach them what to do when they make it," says Stallworth, who has given financial literacy seminars to incoming freshman at institutions, including Morehouse College. "People learn by trial and error. And for our kids, we really need to hunker down and get that done for them. They need to understand how important economic power is, not just now but for their future."

Administrators at other universities, including Texas A&M University, have started doling out sound financial advice to their students, offering tips to get--and keep--them on task when it comes to navigating potentially dangerous financial waters. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

College Finance 101: Students Should Keep Debt under Control
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.