Students at Texas Southern University are learning a valuable lesson: How to use credit cards responsibly.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott visited the campus Thursday to help launch a new initiative to help college students avoid credit card debt.
The state hopes this Financial Literacy Initiative will teach students who want credit cards how to use them the right way.Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says it's something most college students struggle with.
"It almost seems like free money, but it's not free money," Abbott said, explaining how many young people feel when they first get their hands on a piece of plastic credit.
He says credit card debt can quickly turn the dream of a college education into a financial nightmare.
" If you have access to a credit card and use that credit card ineffectively or incorrectly, it can cause a mountain of debt that will stick with you for years after you've left college," he explained.
New state laws now require public colleges and universities to include financial counseling for new students during orientation.
Sophomore Showniece Guidry said she learned that potential employers check your credit background. Now, she's thinking about getting a card to establish a good credit history.
"When I do get to graduate school to get my masters and my [doctorate], then I know that it will help me if I continue to pay them on time and help build it up to get to the higher ranking of the credit scores," Guidry said.
Students attending this presentation credit the AG for the helpful reminders.
"Whether it may be employment, getting a home [or] going to school, it's your everything. It's the one thing, I think, that will follow you your whole life," law student Monique Washington said. "So I think it was great that the AG was here to reinforce that in our students"
Allowing even one blemish on your credit history can follow you long after graduation. Just ask TSU President Dr. John Rudley.
"I'm 60-something years old and I still have to sometimes explain on my credit report stuff that happened many, many years ago," Rudley said. "So, believe me. This is the grim reaper when it comes to credit and credit reporting."
Along with counseling, colleges will be required to have educational brochures and a DVD called "Money Crunch" available on campus.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times