Using Credit Cards for College: CardRatings Offers Best Practices [Oct 19, 2021]

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New study shows places in US with highest credit card and student loan debt, and solid advice for managing school expenses

Foster City, California – October 19, 2021 – Students may need additional sources to fund their school expenses, which may include using credit cards to fill in the gaps. CardRatings.com, one of the leading credit card comparison sites, names the places in the US where households are most in debt with students and credit cards, and shares guidelines for handling both: Best practical: use credit cards for university expenses.

“It may require some strategic maneuvering to pay for college education,” says Brooklyn Lowery, editorial director of CardRatings. “Savings, income from employment, loans, grants and, yes, even credit cards can be pieces of the puzzle.”

Grants and scholarships are leading the way as the best way to manage college costs, given that funds don’t need to be repaid, with government sponsored student loans being the second best option. Still, for the most part, some funding cracks may need to be filled with the plastic spackle known as credit cards.

In its new study, CardRatings identifies households with particularly high types of credit card and student loan debt. These states, and the District of Columbia, have the highest charges for credit cards and student loans:

  • District of Colombia. The country’s capital has the highest amount of debt per household, as well as the second highest level of credit card debt per household
  • Maryland. This state has similar challenges to neighboring DC
  • New Jersey. Garden State is fifth for average credit card debt
  • Colorado. Rocky Mountain peaks are breathtaking, but student loan and credit card balance peaks are not so appealing
  • Connecticut. This New England state ranks in the top 10 for both types of average debt per household

“Our new resource helps borrowers avoid debt, reviews different features of student loans and credit card debt, and provides guidelines for assessing when (and if) either type of debt. ‘borrowing is appropriate for getting through college, ”Lowery adds. “Finding the best student credit card options is also essential if credit cards are required to cover certain college costs.”

The report offers a detailed checklist to help students and parents determine when to use a student loan versus a credit card.

Experts point out that student loans have a major advantage over credit cards for college expenses, but there are several scenarios in which it may make sense to charge an expense to a card. Advice from Laura Lamontagne, Ph.D, associate professor of economics at Framingham State University, is incorporated into the research findings.

Lowery is available to comment on this article and can discuss ways in which students can use credit cards wisely to build credit scores or earn rewards while avoiding excessive debt.

About CardRatings
CardRatings is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: QNST), a leader in providing performance market technology and services to the financial and home service industries. QuinStreet is a pioneer in providing online marketplace solutions to match searchers with brands in digital media. The company is committed to providing consumers with the information and tools they need to research, find and select the products and brands that meet their needs. CardRatings is a member of the expert research and publishing division of QuinStreet.

CardRatings has innovated in online credit card ratings and has been offering independent ratings and reviews of credit card offers since 1998. The website collects and maintains data on over 700 credit card offers and carefully compiles objective lists of the best credit cards by card type, making it easy for consumers to find the right card to meet their needs. Sign up for the bimonthly newsletter here.

Twitter: @CardRatings
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