ODU class warns students about credit card use
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By Philip Walzer
The Virginian-Pilot
© February 23, 2013

It seemed like a wise financial move at the time.

Two year ago, Gelila Mengesha, then 18, came upon a way to save money buying a $ 1,500 laptop. She got a credit card, paid $ 800 for the computer and used the $ 700 credit maximum on the card to cover the rest.

She had a part-time job, but she gave it up to focus on her studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. She couldn’t make the minimum monthly payments. The interest rate went up. Her father in Northern Virginia chipped in. But the credit-card balance didn’t seem to go down.

“I wish I never got it,” admitted Mengesha, now a junior majoring in human services.

She offered her tale of woe at a recent class of Monarch Millionaire, a five-week noncredit financial literacy program attended by about 200 ODU students this semester.

Monarch Millionaire, launched in the fall, covers such topics as banking and paying for college. “If Americans had the basic skills we’re teaching in this class, we would not have gone through this recession,” said Robert Romm, a senior biology major who is among the student instructors.

The session Thursday night focused on c…………… continues on The Virginian-Pilot

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