PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Recent credit changes mean that college students are less susceptible to predatory lenders but those new rules could work against students by making it tougher to establish credit.

If credit is tougher to get, students may potentially have a tougher time renting an apartment or buying a car, but city consumer advocate Lance Haver says there are are a couple of steps they can take.

“Start with a very small loan from a department store and pay it back,” he says. “And put off those major financial purchases as long as you can so you can start on firm financial footing.”

Deborah Diamond of Campus Philly, the organization that encourages college students to stay in Philadelphia once they graduate from college, says it’s an uphill battle for them.

“Students now graduate with an average in Pennsylvania $27,000 in student loan debt and $3,000 in credit card debt,” she says. “That is just a huge burden to have on a student’s shoulders.”

Diamond says establishing credit while in college and managing it responsibly is the key to a firm financial footing later.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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