Paying For College: Here's Why Using A Credit Card Should Be The Last OptionBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
The cost of higher education has become an obstacle that a lot of students and their families need to overcome. It is turning into a burden for American families.
Last year, paying for college took an average of $19,548. Financial advisors speculate that that figure will continue to rise up every year. Moreover, there is already more than $1 trillion of student loan debt in the country.
The average today is already nearing $20,000 for a year. Moreover, two additional years in college can cost $300,000 over a student's life. The calculation included tuition, student loans, lost income and missed retirement savings.
There are some colleges who are already accepting credit cards as payment for higher education. However, a CreditCards.com report has revealed that it may actually cost students more with the hidden costs.
Although student loans are more common, credit cards were found to be a more convenient tuition payment method. It is not as popular, though, as only 2 percent of families paid for college with a credit card last year.
The study also found that every tuition payment made through a credit card charged additional fees, called "convenience fees" of 2.62 percent on average. If, for example, students paid $10,000 on college tuition with a credit card, they would also be charged with $262 in convenience fees.
Education institutions charge different convenience fees. Community colleges were the "most college-friendly institution" with credit card convenience fees, with 97 percent of these colleges accepting credit card payments but only 8 percent charge an additional fee.
"If your college charges a high convenience fee, it's not worth paying your tuition with a credit card," Matt Schulz, a CreditCards.com senior analyst, wrote, via USA Today. "Especially if you have outstanding student loan debt, it's unnecessary to dig yourself more deeply into debt just to pay with plastic."
Schools aren't the ones profiting from these convenience fees, though. Schulz added that the money actually goes to third party companies that help with the credit card transactions.