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Friday September 8, 2000

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UA Survivor

Credit cards offer Instant gratifications, potential for grave consequences

Every day throughout campus, tables stacked with innocuous-looking T-shirts, teddy bears and day planners lure UA students to fill out applications for credit cards.

However, these gifts hardly give hint to the implications of the credit cards that accompany them. Credit cards require a level of responsibility that many students fresh out of high school may not yet be ready for.

As a result, debt is an epidemic among young people, sending many sliding into the red while still in their 20s.

According to the Web site for Nellie Mae, a student lending and financial advising company, college students are, on average, $12,000 in debt upon graduation - some of which may be attributed to credit-card spending.

But despite these daunting numbers, credit cards are an inherently good tool that can be used to learn financial responsibility and build a solid credit history - as long as students are aware of what they are about to undertake when they get the magical piece of plastic.