Women bear the brunt of student loan debt, but they earn less than men so it takes longer to pay back the loans, while Black men and women are the demographics hit hardest by student loan debt.
Women are burdened by nearly two-thirds of the country’s outstanding student loan debt to the tune of $890 billion, according to a new report by the education advocacy group American Association of University Women, titled “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans.”
Certain demographics are hit harder than others, and conversations on student loans need to start with the recognition of that, said Kim Churches, CEO of the association, according to a CNBC report.
Although 56 percent of today’s college students are women, they are still
taking on more debt individually than men, she said.
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In 2016, women completed their undergraduate education owing an average of $21,619, compared with $18,880 for men. However, Black women owed $25,000 in student loans after earning their bachelor’s degree, according to the study.
Women earn 27 percent less than men outside of school, meaning women take longer than men to repay their student loans, and their loans accrue more interest, pushing them deeper into the hole.
While median household incomes have barely budged since 1976, the median price of college attendance has more than doubled, according to the report. Black and minority representation increased from 16 percent to 43 percent between 1976 and 2016. However, as diversity at colleges and universities increased, so did the price of attendance.
Black women are most likely to have problems meeting expenses when they owe on student loans: 34 percent of all women and 57 percent of Black women who were repaying student loans reported that they couldn’t meet essential expenses within the past year.
The numbers show the irony in our education system, Churches said, according to CNBC.
“Education can be the great equalizer in our society, but if the rising tuition is impacting certain people more than others, it’s now disenfranchising them,” she said.
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