Most American college students are handling their finances carefully and conscientiously, according to “Majoring in Money: How American College Students Manage Their Finances ,” a new national study from Sallie Mae, the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company, and Ipsos, an independent global market research company.
“Majoring in Money” reports the results of online interviews of 800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24. The report finds college students have adopted behaviors that promote sound credit management:
- More than three fourths (77 percent) pay their bills on time.
- Six in ten (60 percent) never spend more money than they have available.
- More than half (55 percent) save at least some money every month.
- One in four (24 percent) has an emergency fund.
In addition, most college students are using credit cards responsibly:
- While most make purchases with debit cards (85 percent), cash (86 percent), and mobile payments (77 percent), more than half – 56 percent – have at least one credit card.
- Six in 10 (59 percent) report their primary reason for getting a credit card is to build a credit history.
- Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) pay the full balance duel each month.
- Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) pay the bill without assistance from a parent or other adult.
- Seven in 10 (69 percent) report an average monthly balance of $500 or less.
They understand the importance of having a good credit history.
- Nine in 10 college students (91 percent) know having a good credit record can help them qualify for different types of credit and for better interest rates.
- Two-thirds (67 percent) are aware of credit reports, and half (49 percent) have viewed their own credit report.
While most are confident in their money management skills, the vast majority are eager to learn more.
- Two-thirds (65 percent) think their money management skills are good or excellent.
- More than eight in 10 (83 percent) want to learn more, especially about saving and budgeting.
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