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College students: Keep your credit score high

As more Americans decide to take the life path leading to higher education, more individuals are also finding themselves in need of debt relief assistance because of student loans. During this time of year, students are heading back to hit the books at institutions of higher learning, but they should remember to evaluate their financial health even as they push for good grades.

Students who receive credit cards in the mail are often tempted to open up as many as possible. They sometimes have low self-restraint, which leads to over-spending on midnight pizzas, Internet orders and other non-necessities. When the credit card bills come, many of these students are out of luck because they are unable to pay. That can affect their credit scores for years to come.

Experts say that keeping your credit healthy is not difficult, but it does require some financial savvy and dedication. First, do not ever miss payments. If you cannot manage your payments, then you are spending too much on your credit cards. Failing to make payments can induce significant credit problems that can haunt you for years to come.

Furthermore, make sure that you carefully read the credit card applications. Many cards start off with a low interest rate that will balloon when the first late payment hits. Also, some may have short-term low interest rates that skyrocket after a few months. Make sure that you know what you are getting into before you sign up for more cards.

Financial advisers also recommend that college students keep their credit cards secret. A sure-fire way to end up in money trouble in college is to label yourself as the "person with the credit card" within your group of friends.

College is a great time to start building a solid financial future that can follow you into your professional adult life. By paying careful attention to credit card offers and requirements, you can set yourself up for financial success for years to come.

Source: Fox Business, "A college student's guide to not going broke," Justin Boyle, Sept. 24, 2012.

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