That’s a great question!
The card you want to apply for can be kept for as long as you like, even after graduation, but there’s no policy for upgrading the card – it will still be a student credit card, even when you aren’t a student any longer. What difference does this make? Not too much, really. Student credit cards are easier to get for people with short credit histories or no credit history, but once you have the card, there’s no difference between a student and a regular credit card.
Furthermore, if you get a student credit card, it isn’t necessary to close the account when you graduate – actually, you should definitely NOT close it! Why? One factor in determining your credit score is the length of your credit history. This will be your first credit card, and if you close it, you’ll cut short your credit history. The longer you keep your accounts open, the better.
If you use your card responsibly – make all payments on time, don’t carry debt from month-to-month, keep your balance below about 30 percent of your limit – then you’ll build a strong credit history and you can apply for another credit card down the line. If you get a “regular” credit card you like better – lower APR, higher credit limit, more rewards – you can just stop using your student credit card, and it won’t hurt your credit history. This card doesn’t have an annual fee, so there’s no harm in keeping it and not using it.
If you are at least 18 years old, have enough income – or a co-signer who does – and meet all other card requirements, then go ahead and apply for the student credit card you like, and keep it as long as possible. It won’t be terminated when you get your diploma, and it will help your credit score.
Good luck, study hard, and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!