Photo and story by Kristi Jones / Contributing Writer
The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority hosted a financial literacy session to educate and inform MTSU undergraduate students on taking out loans, saving money, and investing for the betterment of their credit scores.
Eli Murphy, a financial manager at Fifth Third bank started off the presentation by expressing how crucial and important your credit is.
The event also defined a credit score as a snapshot of expected risk at any point in time of your life, and your score can change with time and good spending. Paying bills on time will not solely give you a good credit score.
The event also explained the types of credit and how to use them differently. They went forward to teach the students how having good credit can save you thousands of dollars you wouldn’t have had if you had low credit.
Murphy pushed how important it is to “know your number” and what it means when applying for loans or credit cards. Murphy further explained how your number affects the interest a customer will pay on loans and cards.
MTSU students spoke about how they take care of their finances and how much they know about credit scores.
“I do pay attention to my credit. I check it monthly using Credit Karma, and I always make sure my credit card bill is paid by the end of the month. It’s very important for students to be informed about credit and money.” Gabrielle Severs, a marketing major, said, “By building credit now, it’s making it easier in the long run when it comes time to buy a house, or taking out a loan,” she added.
Murphy told a personal story of how hard it can be to raise your credit score back up when it has dropped significantly.
“That is the importance of why you need to budget, save, and protect your score,” Murphy said.
”I don’t have a yearly budget, I just try to estimate how much school will cost and save up in the summer for both semesters. Students should definitely be more informed about their money and credit. Credit scores in the US are so important. I have met so many people that couldn’t get apartments because they don’t have a credit card.” Svetlana Baranova, an International Leadership major said.
Because most students have loans, the event mentioned that student loans stay with you forever; even bankruptcy will not get rid of student loans. Deferring your student loans will keep you in good standing of credit— it just pushes the payments off to after graduation.
“I don’t have a credit card, but I should get one to start working on getting my credit score up. I have never paid attention to how much I budget each year. Budgeting would help college students make sure they have enough to satisfy their needs.” Nicholas Kirby, a video and film production major, said.
The event also had tips for good credit, such as: Do not get several credit cards all at once, speak to parents about being an authorized user on a card, use secured credit cards, do not allow payments to go to collections, communicate with your lenders, and don’t close unused credit cards.
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