Study Finds Large Racial Disparity in Student Loan Debt

Washington UniversityResearch conducted at Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis finds a large racial disparity in student loan debt. The research found that low-to-moderate income Black students and graduates accrue on average $7,721 more student debt than their White counterparts.

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, a professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University and the lead-author of the study, stated that “college in America is becoming increasingly unaffordable, and that is especially true for lower- and middle-income Black households. Saving for college should be a priority for everyone. It’s important to start early with college savings accounts, such as a 529 plan, at birth. In addition, financial aid programs should be designed to effectively target students from Black lower- and middle-income households. And after enrollment, borrowers need more support to stay in school and repay their loans.”

The study, “Racial Disparities in Education Debt Burden Among Low- and Moderate-income Households,” was published in the journal Children and Youth Services Review. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. Part of this disparity is the lack of knowledge of funding strategies, as I am aware of a number of resource persons who specialize in working with minority students to find money for college tuition and expenses. They have reported a difficulty in persuading parents of prospective college students to pay them to provide services to identify full funding opportunities. I would be more than happy to recommend qualified specialists in this area, but this is not a free service, as many are led to believe.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

University of Virginia School of Law Establishes the Education Rights Institute

The new institute, led by law professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, aims to ensure that all students receive a high-quality K-12 education and help schools understand how to address obstacles facing disadvantaged students.

In Memoriam: Francine Oputa, 1953-2023

During her 30-year career at Fresno State, Dr. Oputa served as director of the Center for Women and Culture and director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. She retired as director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center in 2021.

Is the Black-White Income Gap Finally Shrinking for Good?

In 2019, the median Black household income was 59.7 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic White families. In 2022, In the income gap was 65.2 percent.

Study Finds Blacks More Likely to Live Behind Decaying Levees Than Whites

While nationwide the disparity for Blacks is less than 20 percent, there are high levels of disparity for Black populations behind levees in Kentucky (284 percent) and Tennessee (156 percent).

Featured Jobs