Think of your credit score as a GPA for life, said Shakeela Hunter, Student Money Management Center director.
Depending on the employer and industry, credit score and debt can affect whether someone gets a job. Many job application processes include a credit check along with a job seeker having the opportunity to explain their credit history. This happens especially in financial and government jobs, Hunter said. Not all employers search your credit history, she said, but it's important to research employers and find out what an application process entails.
A credit score is a number used to measure a person's creditworthiness based on his or her credit report. Typically ranging from 300 to 850, the higher the score the better.
If you owe a lot of money, you could be perceived as a risk, Hunter said.
"They're taking credit into consideration to see how well you manage money," she said. "It's a way for employers to see if they can trust you."
If you are behind on payments, it's important to contact lenders and credit card providers, Hunter said, adding that students should explain their problems to lenders, work on a repayment plan and ask that their delinquent status not be reported to credit bureau agencies.
Also, employers might see not repaying student loans on time as a bigger red flag, Hunter added, explaining that there are many ways and opportunities for students to make repayments on time.
Many students don't have a credit score yet, but when they are ready to build credit, Hunter advises seeking on-campus financial services including the Student Money Management Center.
"It takes time to build a good credit score," Hunter said. "It takes only moments to destroy it."