NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Readers of a certain age may remember the old Monty Python song, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, sung by men hanging on the cross. Like them, college students can now look at the bright side of their debt burdens: Paying on time can boost a young person's credit rating.
That's the sliver of a silver lining uncovered in an analysis of student loan trends by Experian, the credit rating firm:
The study took a closer look at the younger generation and found that there are 13 million consumers ages 18-34 that have at least one open student loan. The average VantageScore credit score of those consumers is 640, which is 20 points higher than the average for that age group. This indicates that student loans can help build and establish credit history for young adults and doing so responsibly potentially will increase their scores and the ability to get credit in the future.
That may be a bit of a stretch. College graduates tend to be better off financially than non-grads in their age group, so the higher scores may be due to going to college, not shouldering debt.