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You might be book smart, but...

AREYOU
CREDITWISE
A program to teach

?
students the ins and outs of
credit and personal finance.
AREYOU
CREDITWISE
?
Contents
i Introduction: Why Should You Care
About Being Credit Wise? p.1
1 Creating (and Sticking to) a Budget p.4
2 Understanding Your Credit History p.10
3 Establishing Good Credit p.18
4 Managing a Credit Card p.20
5 Student Loans p.24
6 New Ways to Pay p.25
Introduction
We’ve all been there… you signed up for a credit
card at the mall just to get the one-time discount but don’t
understand how it will affect your credit history, you got hit with a
tuition increase and don’t know how to fit it into your budget, you
were tempted to put your flight to Cancun for spring break on your
credit card, you’ve freaked out over your credit card debt….

And if you’re like most college students:


• You have a credit card (84% do)
• You even have more than 4 credit cards

84%
(the average student does)
• You might use a credit card to pay tuition (33% do)
• You use a credit card for textbooks or other
education expenses (90% do)
• You don’t pay off your balance at the end of each
month (less than 20% do) of college students
own a credit card
• You may graduate with $4,000+
credit card balance, not including
student loans (the average
student does) 1

80% Don’t pay off the


balance of their card
each month

1 How Undergraduate Students Use Credit Cards: Sallie Mae’s National Study of Usage Rates and Trends 2009. Rep. Sallie Mae, Inc., Apr. 2009. Web.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

But why should you care about being credit wise?


Because being credit wise now will save you financial heartache in the future.
Plus, savvy money skills:

• Establish your independence


• Tell a future employer or lender you’re responsible
• Allow you to get a car, house or grad school loan in the future
• Help you prepare for life after college by living within your means

Plus, it’s a whole new world out there.

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act—the CARD Act for short—recently
went into effect, and with it many things have changed:

INTEREST RATES
• Most interest rate increases will affect only new purchases, not existing balances, unless
you miss payments for more than 60 days.
• Lenders generally can’t raise your interest rate within 12 months of opening the account,
but after that they can raise your interest rates however they want, as long as they give you
45 days notice.

Lenders generally can’t raise your interest rate within 12 months of


opening the account, but after that they can raise your interest rates
P.2

however they want, as long as they give you 45 days notice.

DISCLOSURES
• Each monthly statement must include information on how long it would take you to
pay off your balance if you only make minimum payments, as well as the total you’ll
pay including interest. Lenders also have to tell you how much you need to pay each
month in order to pay off your balance in 36 months, as well as the total you’ll pay
including interest.
• Statements must include a toll-free number to call if you want to be referred to a credit
counseling service.
AREYOU
CREDITWISE
?
SERVICE FEES
• Annual and application fees cannot exceed 25% of your initial credit line.

• Lenders can’t charge fees to make payments online or over the phone in the first year,
unless they provide an expedited service by a customer service representative.

GRACE PERIODS
• Billing statements must be sent 21 days before the due date.
• Your due date should be the same each month.
• Payments are considered on time when received by 5 p.m. on the due date, or the next
business day after a holiday or day the lender does not receive mail.

• Payments above the minimum must be applied to the highest-rate balance first.

OVER-THE-LIMIT FEES
• Cardholders are not charged a fee if they exceed their credit limit unless they agree
ahead of time to pay a fee, so unexpected fees aren’t charged. Lenders may decline
these transactions, however.
And maybe most importantly for you…

YOUNG ADULT ACCESS


• Anyone under 21 can no longer get a credit card unless the applicant has a co-signer who
is at least 21 or can demonstrate “ability to pay.”
• A lender cannot increase your credit limit if you are under 21 and have a co-signer without
that co-signer’s permission.

P.3
It may seem complicated, but it doesn’t
have to be. ARE YOU CREDIT WISE?
has sorted it all out for you!
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

1 Creating
(and Sticking to)
a Budget
Your first step to becoming credit wise
is to create your own financial plan, or what most people call a
budget. This may seem daunting (or boring), but trust us.
Creating a budget helps you:
• Live within your means and know what “your means” are
• Set short- and long-term goals for saving
• Stop worrying
• Know where your money is going

First thing’s first. You have to assess where you’re at money-wise, meaning you need to determine
your income vs. expenses. For the majority of college students, the answer is very lopsided.
However, you’ve figured out ways to balance this, whether it’s taking out loans, working an extra job
or running up your credit card debt. Keeping track of your income vs. expenses is a key part of
sticking to a budget.
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For the majority of college students, the answer is very lopsided. However,
you’ve figured out ways to balance this, whether it’s taking out loans,
working an extra job or running up your credit card debt. Keeping track of
your income vs. expenses is a key part of sticking to a budget.
AREYOU
?
CREDITWISE

* ACTIVITY 1: Income vs. Expenses


Fill in your income sources and expenses for either this semester or entire year.

CATEGORY TOTAL ($)


INCOME

Jobs
Parents
Student Loans
Scholarships
Financial Aid
Miscellaneous
INCOME TOTAL

EXPENSES

Tuition
Books
Rent / Room and Board
Utilities
Groceries / Meal Plan
Clothing
Toiletries
Professional Fees
(e.g., haircuts, doctor appointment co-pays)

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Internet
Cell Phone
Car Payment / Gas / Public Transportation
Insurance
Eating Out
Going Out / Entertainment
Miscellaneous
(e.g., Netflix subscription or birthday gift)
EXPENSES TOTAL

Now, take your total expenses and subtract it from your total income.
How does your budget stack up?
Most come up short.

Total Income $_____________ - Total Expenses $_____________ = $_______________


A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

Where Can I Adjust? If you spend $3.50


After you’ve laid it all out, ask yourself, “Where can I adjust?” on coffee every
weekday...
• Distinguish wants vs. needs (maybe have your mom or dad
• In a 5-day school week,
weigh in on this one) you’ll spend $17.50
• Understand that when a need increases (e.g., tuition), you • During the month, you’ll
must either decrease a want (concert tickets) or increase spend more than $70
income (extra hours waitressing) • Over a year, that totals
• Remember that the little things add up $840 in coffee

There are some good free tools out there that can help you set up a
budget online, track your spending and find areas where you can save money. We suggest
using Mint.com or, if you have a checking account, your bank may have a free online budget tool.
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Setting Financial Goals


(and devising a plan to achieve them)
Now that you have a better feel for where you’re at money-wise, it’s time to set a game plan.
Setting financial goals—and achieving them—keeps you coming back to good money management
habits and helps you afford the things you want, when you want them.

It’s important not only to think about what you’ll need in the next semester, but what you’ll
need when you’re no longer going by semesters. With that in mind, try thinking of your
financial goals like this:

• Short-term goals (What will I need to afford this semester?)


• Mid-term goals (What will I need to afford this year?)
• Long-term goals (What will I need to afford after college and beyond?)
AREYOU
?
CREDITWISE

* ACTIVITY 2: Goal Setting Worksheet—Short-term goals


Find out how much money you need to save per month in order to achieve your
short-term goals for this semester:

AMOUNT YOU
NEED TO SAVE WAYS YOU’LL SAVE
GOAL COST PER MONTH (INCREASING INCOME OR
DECREASING EXPENSES)
(TOTAL/MONTHS IN SEMESTER)

Babysit two Friday


New bike for nights per month
$300 $75 ($50); bring lunches
getting to class
to school rather than
eat in cafeteria $25)

P.7
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

* ACTIVITY 2: Goal Setting Worksheet—Mid-term goals


Now, do the same for mid-term goals.

AMOUNT YOU
NEED TO SAVE WAYS YOU’LL SAVE
GOAL COST PER MONTH (INCREASING INCOME OR
DECREASING EXPENSES)
(TOTAL/MONTHS IN YEAR)

Decrease amount
$1000 $83 Get a Part-time
of school loans
by $1000 job for 10 hours
per week
P.8
AREYOU
CREDITWISE
?

* ACTIVITY 2: Goal Setting Worksheet—Long-term goals


It’s a little harder to do with long-term goals because there’s no time limit.
However, you can set up an open-ended plan to achieve your goals:

AMOUNT
TARGET WAYS YOU’LL SAVE
NEEDED TO
GOAL COST LENGTH OF (Increasing Income or
SAVE EACH
TIME Decreasing Expenses)
MONTH

Pay off my $333 Live in a cheaper


school loans $20, 000 5 years neighborhood to
within (5 years=60
make up the
5 years months)
difference in rent

P.9
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

2 Understanding Your
Credit History
Your credit history, which can include
your history with loans, credit cards, housing payments and other
transactions, determines your financial future. It says a lot about you,
and more people look at it than you may think, including:
• Future employers
• The landlord for that apartment you want to rent
• The loan officer you have to get through to buy that house or car, or get a loan for grad school
• Banks that decide what kind of rates you’ll get on current and future cards

And remember, missed payments and other “oops” can stay on your
credit history for up to 7 years!

Credit Reports and Credit Scores:


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How Is Your Credit History Measured?


A credit report and credit score are both evaluations of a person’s credit history and credit worthiness.
Lenders review your credit report to determine if you are a good risk. Consumers with the best credit
history get the best interest rates.

Think of a credit score as the grade you receive on a midterm paper and a credit report as all of the
red-inked feedback your professor provides throughout the paper.
AREYOU
?
CREDITWISE

How Can You Get Your Credit Report?


• You must have a credit history to get a credit report. In general, that means you must have
at least one credit account that has been open for at least six months.
• The only federally accredited program is
www.annualcreditreport.com. It links to
accredited credit reporting agencies Equifax,
Experian and TransUnion. The Fair and Accurate
Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) allows you to
order one free copy from each of the three
agencies every 12 months.
• Not all lenders report to all three agencies, so
your reports from TransUnion, Equifax and
Experian could be different from each other. It’s
important to check all three credit reports
annually to make sure they are accurate,
up-to-date and that there are no dramatic
differences between them, which could
mean there’s an error.
• Steer clear of gimmick programs that may charge hidden fees or offer to increase your
credit score. You can help avoid these unauthorized players by sticking with
www.annualcreditreport.com.
• In general, you should check your credit report or credit score six months before you plan
a major purchase like a car. This will give you time to fix inaccuracies and improve your
score, if necessary.

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What’s a Good Credit Score?
Credit scores calculated by FICO® range from 300 to 850. Most people are in the 600-800 range.

National Distribution of
FICO Scores (% of 27%
Population)

18%
15%
12% 13%
8%
2% 5%
up to 499 500-549 550-599 600-649 650-699 700-749 750-799 800+

FICO SCORE RANGE

Source: “About Credit Scores.” Credit Education Center Credit Basics. Fair Isaac Corporation. Web.
www.myfico.com/crediteducation/creditscores.aspx
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

Reading a Credit Report


What’s included on
What’s NOT included
your credit report?
on your credit report?
• Personal information
• Most checking or savings account
• Accounts summary
information
• Accounts opened
• Demographic information like race or
–Closed or inactive accounts—
ethnicity
these can stay on your
report for 7–11 years! • Salary
–Type of account and date opened • Certain types of inquiries:
–Credit limits / loan amounts –Consumer-initiated inquiries—requests by
–Whether you paid on time you for your credit report
–Balances –Promotional inquiries—requests by lenders
• Credit inquiries within the to offer you pre-approved credit
last 2 years –Administrative inquiries—requests by
• Negative items lenders to review your account
• Missed payments –Employer inquiries
• Overdue debt • Your credit score

Credit scores are not on the credit report itself. In general, there will be a charge to obtain your
credit score. However, your score is generated from your credit report, so checking that will help
you take action to improve your credit score.
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What’s an Inquiry?
When you apply for credit, lenders can ask—or "inquire" —for a copy of
your credit report from a credit agency. When you check your credit
report, you may notice that those credit inquiries are listed, including
some from businesses you don't know. The only inquiries that count
toward your credit score are the ones that result from your applications
for new credit.
AREYOU
?
CREDIT WISE

READING THE ACCOUNTS SUMMARY SECTION


Your credit report will summarize your lines of credit and the payment status on that credit. This is
the meat of your credit report and plays a big part in determining your credit score. If you notice
any inaccuracies in your credit report, be sure to report them in writing to both the credit rating
agency and your lender as soon as possible. They’re required by law to help you fix it.

The types of credit are listed as:

OPEN: Items and services are paid for in a single payment within a given time period
after the purchase. Interest is usually not charged.
–Utility companies, some medical services, travel and entertainment cards

REVOLVING: Transactions can occur as long as the total amount does not go over the
credit user’s assigned dollar limit. Repayment is made at regular time intervals for any
amount at or above the minimum required amount. Interest is charged on the
remaining balance.
–Department store cards, bank cards like MasterCard and Visa

INSTALLMENT: Items are paid for in two or more regularly scheduled payments of a set
amount. Interest is included.
–Car loans, student loans, home mortgage

* ACTIVITY 3: Reading a Credit Report

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Credit reports from the three credit agencies will appear different, but will include similar
information and have a similar format. Typically, reports include sections on negative
credit history, positive credit history, credit requests and personal information.

See the next page for a sample credit report from Experian. Read through the credit report
and answer the questions based on what you’ve learned so far in this workbook.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance
P.14

Experian: Sample Credit Report. Digital image. Experian Online Personal Credit Report from Experian for John Q. Consumer. Experian TM, 2007.
Web. 30 June 2010. www.experian.com/credit_report_basics/pdf/samplecreditreport.pdf
AREYOU
CREDIT WISE
?
1. John notices that a credit card he uses often does not appear under either the “Potentially Negative
Items” or the “Accounts in Good Standing” section. What should he do?

2. John paid his balance to ABCD Banks on time, not 60 days past due as it states on his credit report.
What should he do?

3. John never authorized MyTown Bank to do a credit check, but according to his credit report, they
did. What should he do?

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What Determines Your Credit Score?
Payment History: Whether or not you have paid past credit accounts on time

Amounts Owed: The percentage of available credit you’ve used on open credit accounts

Credit History Length: How long your credit accounts have been established

New Credit: How many new accounts you have and how long
it’s been since you opened a new account

Types of Credit Used: What types of accounts According to FICO, factors are:
you have opened
New Credit
Your credit score considers only information 10% Payment
Types Of History
in your credit report, but some lenders, Credit Used 10%
especially for loans, often look at other factors
35% 30%
like income when making a credit decision. 35%
15%
Credit
History 15%
10%
Length 10%

30%
Source: “What’s in Your FICO® Score.” Credit
Amounts
Education Center: Credit Basics. Fair Isaac
Corporation. Web. www.myfico.com/ Owed 27%

crediteducation/whatsinyourscore.aspx 18%
15%
12%
8%
2% 5%
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

Understanding How Credit Missteps


Can Affect Your Credit Score
You may run into financial difficulties that impact your credit score. Some difficulties may not
change your score that much while others can drop your score significantly. What your credit score
was before can make a difference.

* ACTIVITY 4: How Credit Lapses Affect People Differently

MyFico.com gives a comparison of the impact that credit problems can have on the credit
scores of two different people.

Here’s a snapshot of Alex’s and Benecia’s credit histories:

Alex has a credit score of 680 and: Benecia has a credit score of 780 and:

Six credit accounts, including several Ten credit accounts, including several active credit
active credit cards, an active auto loan, cards, an active auto loan, a mortgage
a mortgage and a student loan and a student loan

An eight-year credit history A fifteen-year credit history

Moderate utilization on his credit card Low utilization on her credit card accounts
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accounts (his balances are (her balances are 15-25% of her limits)
40-50% of his limits)

Two reported delinquencies: a 90-day Never has missed a payment on any


delinquency two years ago on a credit card credit obligation
account and an isolated 30-day delinquency
on his auto loan a year ago

Has no accounts in collections and no Has no adverse public records on file


adverse public records on file
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?
CREDIT WISE

Now take a look at what happens to Alex’s and Benecia’s credit score after one of these
things happen:

Alex Benecia

Maxing out a credit card 650-670 735-755

A 30-day delinquency 600-620 670-690

Settling a credit card debt 615-635 655-675

Foreclosure 575-595 620-640

Bankruptcy 530-550 540-560

Source: “Credit Missteps—How their Affect on FICO® Scores Vary.” Credit Education Center: Credit Q&A. Fair Isaac Corporation.
Web. www.myfico.com/crediteducation/questions/credit_problem_comparison.aspx

The big takeaway? Different lapses on your credit history affect your credit score differently.
Higher scores can fall farther than lower scores with the same mistake. As you can see above,
Benecia loses more points for each mistake than Alex. As you can tell by his initial lower score,
lenders from the get-go realized that he was more risky because of his
credit history. So, the addition of one more sign of increased risk

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on Alex’s credit report is not quite as significant to his score as
it is for Benecia’s.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

3 Establishing Good Credit


Okay, you get it. Having a good credit history is important,
and you know the factors that are considered, but how do you
establish good credit?

• If you can, pay your monthly balance in full and pay it on time to
build positive length of history

-If you can’t pay it off in full, be sure to pay at least the minimum balance
-Remember, what you don’t pay back in full is charged interest
-Know your credit limit and don’t go over it

• Hold off on signing up for new credit cards for one-time coupons

• Avoid opening multiple accounts in a short period of time

• Don’t close unused cards as a short-term strategy

• Avoid paying off one card with another

• Avoid credit repair agencies that charge a fee to improve your score
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• Review your credit report regularly and dispute any inaccuracies

• Report lost or stolen cards right away

• Shop around for APR—if you start high, build good credit history and go back to negotiate
with your issuer

• Let your issuer know if you will be late on a payment and negotiate a plan

• Don’t worry about having unused, available credit—it doesn’t hurt

• Try not to keep exceedingly high balances on a credit card or “max out” a credit card, as it
could bring down your credit score quite a bit. Try to keep your balances below 35% of
your credit limit.

And most importantly…borrow only what you can repay!


AREYOU
?
CREDIT WISE

?
Will
my credit
score drop if
I apply for
new credit?
Probably not much, if at all. However, if you apply for
several credit cards within a short period of time,
some lenders might think something’s fishy and
wonder why you need more lines of credit so badly.
Multiple inquiries from auto, mortgage or student
loan lenders within a short period of time are
typically treated as a single inquiry and will
have little impact on the credit score.

Will

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closing old
accounts
improve my
credit score?
Not necessarily. Any late payments associated with
old accounts won’t disappear by closing the account.
Also, having long-established accounts shows you
have a longer history of managing credit,
which is good.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

4 Managing a Credit Card


Credit can be a great thing if handled
responsibly. Before you decide to get a credit card, take a step
back and think about the pros and cons:

PROS CONS
Allows you to buy the things you need now Easy to overspend, lose track
Creates an online record of purchases Interest
Convenient Possible fees
Builds your credit Easy to buy on impulse
Can help you avoid liability on certain It’s a loan—you have to pay it back!
types of fraud

In addition, because of the CARD act, getting a credit card if you’re under 21 is a little more
complicated than it used to be. Here are some options you may want to consider:

• Wait to get a credit card


• Ask a parent or other trusted adult to co-sign for your credit card
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• Build your credit history by managing a debit card and paying your rent and
utilities bill on time
• Become an authorized user on your parents’ credit card (if you can prove you’re
credit wise to them, of course)

The Fine Print


So, you’re ready to choose a credit card? There are a couple of things you should look at as you
review potential card options:

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the interest rate you’ll pay on your balance. APRs can vary greatly.
Issuers offer lower APRs to people with better credit history. When you’re looking at APR, make sure
you read the details!

• Some credit cards will offer you introductory rates, but many will go up after the
introductory period expires.
• Some cards offer non-variable APR rates while others offer variable APR rates. With a
non-variable rate, your APR can change, but the credit card company has to give you
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?
CREDIT WISE

notice first. With a variable rate, your APR changes based on an index, such as the Prime
Rate, a national standard by which interest rates are measured.
• You can expect some lenders to cut you a break on your APR if you pay on time. But if you
don’t pay on time, your interest rate will be higher.
• Some cards will charge you a penalty APR for late payments. The penalty may apply until
you make a certain number of consecutive minimum payments on time.
• Shop around for good APR. If you don’t start with a good rate, build good credit history
and then go back to the issuer to negotiate.
• And remember—you can avoid paying interest all together by paying your balance in full by
the payment due date.

Prime Rate:
The national standard by which interest rates are measured. The Prime Rate is
published by the Wall Street Journal and is determined by polling 10 of America’s
largest banks. When 7 of the 10 change their prime lending rate, Prime Rate is
updated accordingly.

Fees are the various costs you may encounter with any given credit card.
• Annual fees and membership fees can be added after one year, so again, read the
offer carefully!
Account set-up fees are one-time fees.

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• Participation fees are typically monthly fees.
• Transaction fees can be charged for balance transfers, cash
advances and foreign transactions.
• Penalty fees can be charged
for late payments, over-the-limit
purchases and
returned payments.
How important is APR? Let’s
do the math. If...
• I charge $1,000 to my credit card
• I make minimum payments of $20 per month
• My APR is 15%

Making only minimum payments each month,


it will take more than 6 years to pay
off my balance with $546.18 in interest,
bringing the grand total to $1,546.18.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

* ACTIVITY 5: Choosing a Credit Card


So, you received a pre-approved offer in the mail. Is it a good deal?

Is this offer a good deal? Why or why not?


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It’s usually best to do your own research and you may be better off applying for a credit card
rather than going with a pre-approved offer. You typically can find a better deal, and you’re
more likely to be familiar with the terms of the agreement.
AREYOU
?
CREDIT WISE

Cards with Benefits


Get 10% off if you apply for a card today! Earn 10,000 free mileage points if you sign
up today! We’ve all been tempted by promotions like this, but before you apply, ask
yourself:
• Do the benefits outweigh the costs? These cards may come with additional fees, so be
sure to weigh any fees against the benefits you think you’re getting.
• Is the card as good as it sounds? Make sure you look for expiration periods, as the
benefits may not be permanent. You also should check for redemption fees, because the
benefits may come with an extra cost when you want to redeem them.
• Will it change my spending habits? Promotional cards often incentivize buying things
you may not need. It’s probably not a good idea to get a card that encourages you to buy
something you otherwise wouldn’t have purchased.

You Apply for a Credit Card and Get Denied. Now What?
First of all, don’t worry. There are lots of possible reasons someone can be denied,
and it happens all the time. If you think the reasons for denial are valid…
• Ask the lender to provide additional information or arrange alternate credit terms.
• Apply to another lender whose terms are different.
• Improve your credit history, and then reapply.

If you think the reasons for denial are invalid…


• Examine your credit report and correct any errors.

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• If the lender did not provide the key reasons for the denial, ask the lender to give you
feedback. You are entitled to be provided such feedback within 30 days.
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

5 Student Loans
Whether you get them from the
government or through a bank, student loans are another
means of credit and should be treated with the same care
that you should treat credit cards.

While you’re still in school, make sure you only use student loans for
education expenses and if you can, avoid paying for tuition
with a credit card.

When you’re about to graduate, be sure to schedule an exit interview with a financial aid advisor to
figure out a repayment plan. You’re entitled to this interview by law. Some of the repayment plans
you and your advisor may agree on include:

• Standard payment plan: Fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years

• Extended payment plan: Fixed monthly payments for 12 to 30 years, depending on the amount
borrowed, but accrues more interest than a standard plan
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• Graduated payment plan: Monthly payments start low and rise


every two years for 12 to 30 years, thus accruing more
interest over time

• Income-contingent payment plan: Monthly payments


rise based on income and total amount of debt When you’re
• Income-sensitive payment plan: Monthly payments
are tied to percentage of gross monthly income
about to
• Income-based payment plan: Available to Direct
graduate
Loan and FFEL programs, caps the monthly payments be sure to schedule an exit
at a lower percentage of a narrower definition of interview with a financial aid
discretionary income than the income-contingent advisor to figure out a
payment plan repayment plan.
"Loans: Repayment Plans." FinAid! Financial Aid, College Scholarships and Student Loans. 2010. Web. 21
July 2010. www.finaid.org/loans/repayment.phtml
AREYOU
?
CREDIT WISE

6 Beyond the Card:


New Ways to Pay
Prepaid Cards
Prepaid cards can be a good way to learn how to use a credit card because they
provide a model for learning how to use a credit card, are a good way to make sure
you’re sticking to your budget and may allow you to track your spending.
Plus, most pre-paid cards are:
• Accepted where debit cards are accepted.
• Safer and more convenient than carrying cash. Depending on the card, you may not be
liable for unauthorized purchases if your card is lost or stolen.
• Easy to get—there is no credit check.
• Easy to reload online and at thousands of retailers across the country.

There are several types of prepaid cards, so you can pick the
option that best suits your needs:

• Everyday: Best for purchasing things you would

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normally use cash or checks for
• Gift: Best for gift-giving when you don’t want to be
limited by store or service
• Travel: Best for spring breaks and studying abroad,
as they’re accepted worldwide and
allow you the flexibility to get cash back in the
currency you need, which is much more
convenient than travelers checks
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

Debit Cards

• Looks like a credit card but it’s not a loan, so there’s no interest
• Comes straight out of your checking account
• Widely accepted
• Helps build good credit practices
• Can be a good budgeting tool

So, there you have it. You have successfully saturated your brain
with credit wise know-how to keep you out of the red and on a successful
path to good money management!

CONSIDER
YOURSELF
!
P.26

CREDIT WISE
AREYOU
CREDIT WISE
?
Are you Credit Wise? Participant Survey
Now that you’re Credit Wise, we want to be sure that you gained useful knowledge and skills that will help
you manage your money in the future.

Please take this short survey and hand it to your student instructor. The information will help us improve
our program and educational materials. Your responses will be kept confidential.

NAME OF YOUR SCHOOL:

WHAT DID YOU THINK?


Please rate the extent to which you agree with the following statements:

1 Strongly Disagree 7 Strongly Agree

1. The education materials (presentation and workbook) provided useful financial education information.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2. The instructor helped me better understand why I should care about money management.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

3. Because of the Are You Credit Wise? program, I now feel better equipped to understand
credit and money management.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

TAKING CHARGE
Please circle the number that best describes the statement, “As a result of the Are You Credit Wise? program, I …”

1. “Plan to create a personal financial plan / budget.” Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2. “Plan to obtain and examine my credit report.” Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

3. “Will try to spend less than I earn.” Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

4. “Understand the steps I need to take to improve my credit history.” Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

5. “Will be more careful about opening new lines of credit and managing my current lines of credit.”
Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

6. “Better understand what to look for if I decide to get a card (if I’m over 21 or have a co-signer).”
Circle N/A if you already do this:
NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

A FEW QUESTIONS:
What did you like the most about the Are You Credit Wise? program?

How could this program be improved?

Would you recommend this program to others?

Yes No
A program to teach students the ins and outs of credit and personal finance

CONSIDER
AREYOU
?
CREDIT WISE

YOURSELF
CREDIT WISE !

For more information on credit reports, credit and


debit cards, and money management, go to
www.responsiblespending.com
AREYOU
CREDIT WISE
www.responsiblespending.com