12 Ways to Keep Student Loans to a Minimum

Education savings

In 2012, the Institute for College Access and Success reported that two-thirds of the 2011 graduating class had student loan debt - and the average amount was $26,600.   As pointed out by FICO experts, student loan debt is a growing problem for two major reasons: consumers are carrying more student loan debt than ever before, and more federally-backed student loans are being offered to consumers with questionably low FICO Scores.   Plus, with the unemployment rate for the under twenty-five crowd hovering at twice the national average, $26,000 in student loans can become a huge burden post-graduation.   It is possible, however, to graduate college with a bright future and very little – or even no – student loan debt. It just takes more work and planning … [Read more...]

Dark Clouds Looming Over Student Loan Industry

Graduation-cap-made-of-money-300

My earlier blog post quantified some of the trends we have been seeing in the US student loan industry, namely the precipitous increase in student loan debt.   Our ongoing analysis has found another disturbing trend: recent vintages of student loans have noticeably lower FICO® Scores than earlier vintages.   This chart illustrates the score distribution trend for consumers who have recently opened a new student loan.     Here we see a clear shift toward lower scores. In fact, the median score has dropped 17 points from 659 to 641.     These findings indicate that in recent years, student loan lenders have made student loans available to more consumers with lower credit quality. Since private student loan lenders were … [Read more...]

Student Loan Debt and FICO Score Trends

  As students incur more student loan debt, lenders and investors in student loans are asking how this is affecting US consumers’ FICO Scores. New FICO research provides interesting insights.   With education costs rapidly outpacing inflation, more consumers are taking out student loans to pay for their education. Looking at a large data sample from a credit reporting agency, we found that 6.2% of US consumers had two or more open student loans on their credit report in 2005. By 2012, that number grew to roughly 11.8%.   Consumers also have a greater amount of student loan debt today. In 2005, consumers with an open student loan on file had an average student loan debt of $17,236. In 2012, that number increased 54% to $26,549. This has outpaced growth for … [Read more...]

Personal Finance for Artists

Personal Finance for Artists

When I was in high school, I dreamed of a career on the stage. I threw myself into intensive dance and singing lessons every night after school, and spent hours in studios rehearsing musicals. I envisioned myself on a Broadway stage, rehearsed my Tony acceptance speech in the mirror, and practiced my signature for the day fans would ask for my autograph.   Senior year, college decisions forced me to think about the logistics of my future, and suddenly my idealized vision of starring on Broadway clashed with real, pressing decisions about money, college, and my career. Understanding the harsh reality of “making it” as an actor, while also feeling the immense weight of a lifelong dream on my shoulders, I was torn. I began considering other possible careers and grappled with the … [Read more...]

The Hidden Costs of College

iStock_000009127912XSmall.jpg_crop380w[1]

With all the recent buzz about student loans, the skyrocketing price of higher education is a hot topic – but the financial impact of college goes far beyond just tuition. Plenty of secondary expenses aren’t factored into college "sticker prices," and many of them don’t become apparent until after students get to campus. From parking to Greek life, students should take note of these expenses when figuring out a sustainable budget for the school year:   Dorm Room: Most college dorm rooms come with a bed, a desk, and a few drawers. Students are responsible for providing everything else: lamps, rugs, pillows, bedding, hangers, etc. Take advantage of back-to-school sales and reach out to your roommate/s to split the cost of shared items. Go to your school’s Facebook page and see if … [Read more...]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by a credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of a credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a credit card issuer. This site may be compensated by credit card issuers mentioned on the site by such companies.