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Counting student loans as income can create credit card debt

Some college students are tempted to count their student loans as income when applying for credit cards. This is very dangerous and can lead to major credit card debt since these loans are the exact opposite of income -- no matter what it feels like when the money arrives. They're just more debt.

One student related her story, saying she needed to move and didn't have the money. She figured she could use a credit card to move, since it would cap her spending, and she could pay it back later.

The problem is that she only had a part-time job, as many students do. She knew she probably wouldn't get the card; the company wasn't going to trust that someone with so little income could afford the payments. So she just wrote down the total of her student loans as yearly income and got approved that way, with a $4,000 limit.

Of course, reality came roaring back when she actually needed to pay the card off later and had no way to do it. As she had known from the beginning, her job didn't let her pay more than the minimums, and she even missed some of those payments. The amount owed began climbing. Soon, the debt was being sent to collections and she was behind by around $5,000, way more than she'd ever anticipated.

While a situation like this can feel overwhelming for a student, especially with loan debt on top of credit card debt, there is good news. Students do have options, including bankruptcy, to eliminate debt. This typically can't be used for student loans, but it could be used to get rid of credit card debt and make other payments affordable.

Source: Huffington Post, "How I Got in (and Out of) $5,000 Credit Card Debt," Serena Piper, accessed May 26, 2016

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