Would You Pay For Tuition With Credit Cards?

My great-grandfather was an educational leader in his time. My grandmother went on to become a teacher as well. My mom, though didn’t follow the education path, was a brilliant woman. Education was very important in my family. I did well in school and had plans to pursue post secondary education. A plan that involved some scholarships and money set aside from my great-grandfather and grandparents as (unfortunately) part of their estates. I never had to worry about where money for my education was going to come from, it was all there.

Except it wasn’t.

The estate wasn’t executed properly and we never saw the money. I was getting ready to graduate and had no money to pay for the degree I was already enrolled in.

putting college on a card

I had some scholarships but the last-minute scramble meant student lines of credit since, at the time, I didn’t qualify for government-issued student loans because my mom made too much money. I didn’t really care at the time since I assumed I’d be through school and paying the debt off quickly. Plans again changed and I ended up completing a degree I had no intention of ‘using’ (I don’t think any education is wasted though). I decided to pursue another degree in dental hygiene (with zero regrets) but had, you guessed it, no way to pay for it.

This time I did qualify for government issued loans which helped a little but only about half. I did what any logical person would do and charged the rest of my tuition on credit cards.

This was a pretty dumb thing to do but I was in a pinch and needed to do something or else I wouldn’t be able to complete my degree.

The credit cards I had access to didn’t even offer any crazy rewards I could really benefit from. In charging all that money to them I think I got something like $200 worth of points to a large department store which we did use when it came time to get our first apartment together. It would have even been better to get a loan from somewhere like Aspire Money.

Related: How to Choose a Credit Card

This was a huge lesson for me to learn about credit cards, and how volatile the interest rate can be. I ended up consolidating them a year after graduation since paying of almost 20k worth of credit card debt with an average interest rate of 15% was difficult. This debt on top of the debt acquired in my first degree and student loans to accompany the credit card debt has been quite the challenge but my husband and I are slowly working at getting it paid off.

I could say I regretted the decision but I have learned more from my mistakes then I think I could have learned if I didn’t make them. When my daughter was just five weeks old we opened a registered post secondary savings for her in hopes of preventing the same sort of scenario for her. We also have a lot of hard-earned lessons to teach her.

Whats the craziest thing you have acquired debt for?

7 thoughts on “Would You Pay For Tuition With Credit Cards?

  1. Yes, financing $20k at 15% wasn’t the best financial decision you ever made, but sounds like you didn’t have many options at the time. We’re always being pushed to put more and more on the credit card. Services now encourage renters to pay rent with their credit card. I suppose this is a boon for those who are into the credit card points and rewards game, but feels like setting oneself up for disaster to me.

  2. It’s hard to say if I would have done the same thing if I was just graduating from high school and wanted to go to college but had no way to pay for it. Now the answer would be a no-brainer: no. But, I did finance some life coaching classes on cc a couple years ago before I started my blog. Dumb! But I can understand how an 18-year-old just starting out in life would want to.

  3. Paying for college tuition with a credit card is only helpful under a very specific set of circumstances. Due to the risks and fees that go along with paying for university costs with a credit card in most cases, you’re surely better off seeking out other financing options.

  4. Kay@Green Money Stream says:

    It’s good that you learned an important lesson. That would have been a difficult decision to make. We also started our son’s college savings program when he was just a newborn. I’d like to help him as much as we can.

  5. I am right there with you! While I didn’t use a credit card to pay for my education, my graduate loan is at an interest rate higher than most credit cards. It’s discouraging.

    I do have a boss who used zero-interest promotions to finance part of his education on a credit card. While the minimum payments necessary to pay off the loan before the end of the promotion are higher than I would be able to make, he was pretty successful with that method.

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