Some high schools are taking action to better prepare students for the world of credit cards after they graduate. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, credit cards that market to college students have been receiving a great deal of attention lately. Central to the debate is the concern that credit card companies are aggressively and surreptitiously targeting college students because of the unique market opportunity that these young students represent. However, with programs aimed specifically at educating high school students on credit management, some of these concerns may be alleviated.
One person that’s working very hard to educate high school students about the subject of credit cards is a person named Berangere Robertson-Tucker, who is a community financial literacy trainer at 1st Centennial Bank in Redlands, California. Robertson-Tucker works with schools directly to help teach students about how to effectively use credit as well as how to pro-actively manage their debts. In addition, Robertson-Tucker works to help students understand how credit card decisions and purchases they make today can affect them in the future.
“These are probably things you dont think about that much when youre using your parents’ credit card,” Robertson-Tucker commented to a class of high school juniors.
In addition to the frank discussion she has with students, Robertson-Tucker utilizes unique teaching methods meant to teach them more about the proper real-world use of credit. She also provides students with useful information that can help them when it comes to maintaining a higher credit score. For example, she discussed the debt-to-income ratio and how this can affect the interest rates they receive on their loans. She also discussed the importance of shopping around for the best rates when applying for a credit card.
Other issues that Robertson-Tucker addressed included identity theft and the safe use of the Internet. Further, she explained how paying only the minimum on balances will take years to pay off even a small purchase (like that late night pizza).
Although students should probably have more than just one days worth of teaching on the proper use of credit cards, Robertson-Tucker’s education methods seem to have had an impact. As one student said, “I like that she talked about the differences between credit and debt so I can handle my own expenses. Before we started learning about this, I would always just let my parents deal with it.”