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How Student Debt Is Perpetuating Racial Inequality



The nation’s yawning wealth gap is a major reason why minority students end up borrowing more for college. Structural racism has created disparities in home ownership rates, income and other wealth-building vehicles, providing minority borrowers with fewer resources to tap to pay for college, on average.

This racial debt gap will likely only increase the wealth disparities between white Americans and their minority peers. That’s because elevated levels of student debt often get in the way of buying houses, saving for retirement or building wealth in other ways, said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos and the author of the report. 

“The more we are putting the burden of debt onto students and communities that we’ve traditionally overburdened, I think that only stands to exacerbate the problem,” Huelsman said.