Student loan debt has become a burden for many Americans, but black women are especially struggling under the weight of these loans. Student loan debt is a burden that many Black women carry. Some believe that forgiveness of this debt would ease the financial pressure that they face. In March 2020, Biden said that if elected, he would sign a pandemic-related relief bill pending in Congress that would “forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans.” His administration has extended the moratorium on student loan repayments, but there are still calls for more relief measures, such as the complete cancelation of the debt.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this disparity. For one, black women are more likely to attend for-profit colleges, which tend to have higher tuition prices and leave students with more debt. Black women are also less likely to have family members who can help them pay for college, and they are more likely to take on loans themselves.
According to The Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates closing the opportunity gap for students of color from low-income families, Black women face a particularly heavy debt load. The report states that not only do Black women make less than other college-educated white women and Black and white men, but they are also more likely to be parents in school. This can result in higher borrowing costs for college due to childcare expenses.
Fortunately, there are some programs that can help black women with their student loan debt. For example, the federal government offers income-based repayment plans and loan forgiveness programs. These programs can make it easier to manage the debt and eventually get out from under it.
State governments are also starting to offer assistance. Last year, Maryland created a program that will forgive up to $5,000 in student loan debt for black women who live in the state and work in certain professions. Similar programs are being considered in other states, including New York and California. According to the Brookings Institution, Black borrowers’ reliance on loans to pay for higher education has contributed to the widening racial wealth gap. Four years after graduating, Black college graduates owe an average of $52,726, compared to white students, who owe an average of $28,006, according to a 2016 report by the think tank.
Black women carry a heavy burden when it comes to student loan debt, but there are some programs that can help ease the burden. With more awareness and assistance, black women can find relief from this growing financial problem.