College Students Have Tough Time Dealing With Credit Card Debt

Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate rejected a measure that would have made it harder for young people get themselves in credit card debt.

The bill called for a $2,500 limit on cards issued to people under 21 years of old. To get the limit raised, minors would have to have a parent co-signe the account or prove he or she had the income to pay.

Opponents say the bill would deprive minors like 18, 19 and 20 year olds, who are legally able to sign contracts, of an important right.

Others however, say credit cards encourage some college students to take on too too much debt too early in life. Twenty-year-old P.J. Burr thought getting a credit card a great idea until she realized she couldn't pay the bill.

"I just maxed it out," Burr said. "They kept giving me more and more money, the limit. Finally it just got to the point where I couldn't afford it any more."

Many college students say they are bombarded with credit card offers. Companies set up booths on college campuses, post flyers in hallways and even call students on at home. Young people are getting credit cards without even having jobs.

Financial experts like Jan Lukens say that's where the problem starts. She says most entry level jobs don't pay enough to keep up with student loans and credit card debt.

"Kids just haven't learned all the ins and out of managing their money, and they're not really prepared to handle the kind of debt that they're coming out of college with," Lukens said.

Last year 150,000 minors couldn't handle their debt and had to file for personal bankruptcy.   Experts say credit card companies often give minors with no income cards because they believe the parents will foot the bill.

by Danielle Thomas