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Study: Student Loans Weigh the Heaviest on Black and Hispanic Students

Student Loan Hero

With rising tuition costs outpacing inflation and wage growth, many students are struggling to afford college. In fact, about 44 million Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt.

But according to our in-depth analysis of data from Demos and NCES, black and Hispanic students are paying more when it comes to student loans than white students. [...]

“Not only are students of color more likely to borrow more for a degree, and borrow in higher amounts for the same degree, but they’re more likely to struggle to repay student loans than white students,” said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst for Demos. “Students of color are also overrepresented at for-profit colleges and universities which account for a very large proportion of student loan defaults.” [...]

No discussion of student debt and race would be complete without a look at household income.

“We cannot think of student loan debt in isolation from other areas of our economy,” said Huelsman. “For example, long-standing racism in the labor market has resulted in a country where black families with college degrees have lower average net worth than white families with a high school education or less.”

Twenty years ago, white households held a net worth seven times that of black households and six times that of Hispanic households, according to Demos data that Huelsman noted. After the recession, that disparity increased to 13 times and 10 times, respectively.