NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you have a newly minted college freshman on your hands, you already know college finance is serious business. The average four-year tuition cost for incoming college students last year was $129,700 for a private college and $38,000 for in-state public school students, according to SavingForCollege.com.
At least parents today get a price break compared with parents of newborns who expect their kids to go to college roughly 18 years from now. By 2031, the average four-year cost of a private college education is expected to be $312,000, or $92,000 for an in-state public school.
That's why pinching pennies where you can is so critical with the household college budget. One way to do that is get your college-bound son or daughter a credit card with no fees and low rates, with payment bonuses and ample rewards for using the card the best way.
Used wisely, a credit card for a college student can help them build a good credit history and teach the value of wise spending and paying bills. (Advice from mom and dad is good too.)Also see: How to Prepare Your Kid for College Culture Shock caveats first: "Not all credit cards are designed for graduates," the firm says in a research paper out this week. "Selecting the right one mainly depends on the individual's present income. For example, recent graduates should only consider credit card offers that charge low interest rates, have no annual fees, and cash rebates." The website calls the Discover chrome credit card a starting point for parents looking for a good option for their college freshmen. It has no annual fee and offers a "generous" cash back program that can come in handy for a cash-strapped college student. Card users get 2% cash back automatically on restaurant and gas station purchases, and 1% on all other purchases (up to $1,000 each quarter). The card offers free access to the recipient's FICO credit score as well. Also see: 5 College Debt Myths You Can't Afford to Believe here), but as long as you focus on no fees, low rates and good rewards, you're on the right track for a good card option for the college freshman in your family.