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You Won't Want the Freshman 15,000

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Maybe you've heard of the "freshman 15."

That's the average amount of weight first-year college students are predicted to gain during their first year away from mom and dad's healthy cooking.

Then there's the "Freshman $15,000" -- the amount of debt accrued by a college freshman who isn't careful about how they're spending money and saving for the last three years of college -- and after.

Granted, $15,000 isn't a hard and fast number. In fact, it could be less, but there's no question toxic financial attitudes about money can lead to "risky financial behaviors" among the first year college set.

That's the conclusion of a study by Higher One, a Washington, D.C., college and university technology services company.

The report, Money Matters on Campus: How Early Attitudes and Behaviors Affect the Financial Decisions of First-Year College Students, surveyed 40,000 college students on their attitudes about savings, debt and spending once they set foot on campus.

The big takeaway is this: First-year students are unprepared for handling their own finances away from home, and there is a "strong" connection between accumulating heavy debt during freshman year and not having a bank account.

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