Plastic diplomas -- credit cards for college graduates who qualify

"The consumer credit crunch is affecting all Americans, but none more so than this year's more than 1 million graduating college seniors," notes Thomas K. Myers, of American Express Card Division.

In a period in which high interest rates are a significant factor in anyone's planning, college students are no exception. With many of the traditional routes for establishing credit less accessible and more expensive, recent graduates may find themselves in an especially difficult bind.

There are special programs that students can take advantage of to establish a credit rating, even in the present economic environment. Some large retailers and oil companies, for example, have credit card programs directed to college students. The sponsors of these programs are quick to express their concern that graduates know how to establish credit and that they learn to use it responsibly.

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