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.

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  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.

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