College tuition can be incredibly expensive. Many students end up taking on debt in order to make their tuition payments. Student loans are probably the best-known type of college-related debt. However, there are other types of debt a student might incur in relation to tuition payments.

For example, there is a minority of students that pay their tuition in part with a credit card. There are certain things it is important to know about using this method for tuition payments. One is that it can subject a student to some significant additional costs.

For one, a good number of schools charge students a fee when they pay for tuition via credit card, according to a recent survey of U.S. colleges. The survey found that this was the practice in a vast majority of the surveyed public universities and private colleges. The survey did point to the practice being considerably less common at community colleges. It has been estimated that the average fee schools assess for such payments is 2.62 percent.

Additionally, a student could end up paying a significant amount in interest to their credit card company when they use a credit card for tuition if they don’t promptly pay off the balance their credit card carries because of the tuition payments.

It can be important for college students to understand the costs associated with the different available options when deciding how to go about paying their tuition.

The different types of tuition-related debt one can incur in college cannot only vary in the costs associated with them, but also in what they mean for a student’s debt relief options when they run into problems with the debt. For example, student loans are treated very differently in personal bankruptcies than credit card debt. Student debt generally can’t be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, while credit card debt generally can. When a person ends up experiencing difficulties with debt they incurred over tuition, skilled bankruptcy attorneys can give them explanations of how the particular types of debt they have might impact what debt relief route they may want to take.

Source: USA Today, “You might not want to pay college tuition with plastic,” Athena Cao, Sept. 5, 2016