Results from this exploratory study of incoming college freshmen indicated many students already had access to credit or had acquired debt. Sixty-two percent had access to a credit/charge card and just over half (50.9%) had some type of debt. Older students had significantly more credit/charge cards, as well as higher levels of debt. Single, never married students tended to have lower levels of debt than currently/former married students. Most students in this study knew little about credit and credit knowledge was not significantly related to debt levels or access to credit/charge cards. The findings suggest that credit education may be needed before students enter college (or shortly thereafter) to help them make informed decisions and avoid having excessive debt affect current/future financial security.

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