College students often worry about how best to stave off weight gain during their first year of school, but pay little attention to something even more insidious: rapid debt accumulation.
Kellie Kostek is the University at Buffalo’s answer to the growing problem of student debt. Kostek is UB’s financial literacy program coordinator. Her objective is to reach as many students as possible to teach the benefits of fiscal responsibility.
“Most students arrive on campus having never had a serious conversation with their parents about managing debt,” said Kostek, “they just don’t know where to begin.”
Kostek’s weeks are filled with financial workshops, special appearances to UB 101 orientation classes and talking to resident assistants (RAs)—who are often the first to identify the effects of debt crisis in students.
Kostek often dedicates entire workshop sessions to the amount of money spent on coffee and fast food items, which can add up to more than a thousand dollars a year. Kostek stresses using credit cards sparingly, for emergencies only, if possible -- not for everyday impulse buys.
Kostek’s other money management tips for students include:
Kostek also points out that future employers are now investigating credit histories and credit scores as part of a background check before hiring.
“Even landlords are asking for credit histories before renting apartments. It’s a good indicator of how responsible a student is,” she says.
Kostek notes that according to a 2009 Nellie Mae (a Sallie Mae student loan company) survey:
Students who rack up enormous amounts of debt before graduation may drop out of college to stem the tide of increasing that debt, Kostek points out. And many students most who leave early have large bills and not much hope for getting hired in a tough job market. Source: University at Buffalo