Trying to afford college life can be difficult, especially since the majority of students pursuing a higher education come from families that are financially disadvantaged. While there are various forms of financial aid, such as scholarships from local Bay Area organizations, grants and student loans, this does not always mean a student is totally taken care of when it comes to being fully funded. As a result, college students often seek part-time work in order to establish a steady stream of income to cover not just their school-related expenses but their living expenses as well. Unfortunately, the decisions made by some that are in need of quick cash often leads students down a financial path that can actually do more harm than good.
Compared to the forms of financial aid that is meant to assist students with their college years, there are other financial options also available that tend to create a pitfall for those that do not handle their funds wisely or outright abuse them altogether. Relying too heavily on credit cards is one of the main ways students find themselves in trouble. Despite the fact that the amount put on a credit card must be paid back with interest, college students oftentimes treat these pieces of plastic as a form of free money. The trend of college students becoming active users of credit cards even led to credit card companies appearing on campuses all over the country, enticing students to sign up with incentives and bonus offers. The problem became so bad, in fact, that the Federal Government stepped in and passed new regulation, stating that credit card companies were not allowed to be within 1,000 feet of any college campus’s borders.
Another snag that college students run into deals with payday loans. These are short term loans, which give students the chance to receive money within 24 hours. Although being able to get fast cash is helpful for emergency situations or to pay unexpected expenses, abusing this service ultimately leads to more debt and financial burden. Inexperienced students typically do not realize that these types of loans also come with additional fees and high interest rates. For individuals that are already suffering from debt, a cash advance simply becomes another bill added to the pile. It is important for college students in particular to understand that short term loans are not to be seen as a long term solution to paying off debt. What makes this option tempting for students is the fact that check cashing locations are easy to come by. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area alone there are at least a dozen, if not more, check cashing places all within the downtown area. Those attending schools like UCSF or City College’s downtown campus can easily be tempted by passing these locations on a daily basis.
Individuals looking for ways to afford college should keep in mind that quick fix solutions usually cause more problems than they solve.