Ipass Student Loan Debt based on Race


Students of color have a higher risk when it comes to education debt.

The debt on student loans has been a significant issue for a long time. The concept of simply resolving the debt only recently started to gain broad support. Internet requests of “student loan cancellation” and “student canceling loans” have increased dramatically from the start of 2021, and it’s clear the reason Ipass – Geogia residents. Americans collectively are owed $1.7 trillion of student loans which are more than the gross national production (GDP) of almost every nation.

It’s a massive cost that’s going to increase. This puts enormous stress on an already vulnerable population, including young people and those just beginning their careers and families, especially those with a low-income background. If you examine the debt on student loans by race, it is apparent that this issue impacts all people across America to a certain extent. However, in the United States, to some time, certain groups are experiencing more difficulties than other groups.


  • Student loan debt is a problem for the majority of Americans as well as the high cost of payments can make it hard to save to fund long-term goals, for example, buying a house and saving up for retirement.
  • When looking at the percentage variations in median income and student debt over the past year, The Brookings Institution found an ever-widening gap between what people earn and the amount they owe to their education, particularly when it comes to Black students.
  • Intergenerational wealth transfers can exacerbate inequality between racial groups that affect all pupils. However, they are particularly detrimental to Black borrowers. Based on the Student Borrower Protection Center, Black students had lower household wealth and took on higher loans to fund their education by 2020, limiting their wealth.
  • According to Brookings, despite tangible families’ income and assets disparities in Black and White borrowers’ lives in 2018, they represented about half the difference in default rates among these two groups. When you consider the differences in degrees and college grade-point-average and post-college income and work, the gap is still.
  • Compared to other populations, Black, Hispanic, and Native American borrowers generally had more financial obligations that weren’t met and higher student loans. They were also more likely to be struggling financially to continue their education in 2020.

Understanding Student Loan Debt

The student loan is the final result of borrowing funds to finance an education, including tuition costs not paid for by scholarships, textbooks, costs for living, other expenses. The increasing cost that higher education has created is prohibitive without financial assistance.

If the student cannot get employment that pays a decent amount after graduating, they will likely be unable to pay back their loans. Delinquency is the rest results formable to pay a loan due date even by one day. Following a set time of delinquency, based on the kind of loan, there’s an opportunity to go into the state of default. All of these situations could significantly affect someone’s financial status, explicitly concerning scores on their credit or credit report.

By 2021’s end, the student loan debt will affect over 43 million Americans with high-cost repayments. This could make it challenging to save funds for future goals.

Furthermore, this burden isn’t felt by everyone Americans equally. People belonging to certain races or ethnic groups tend to have higher student loan debt on average.

These disparities can cause (or at the very least, affected) by the presence of racism. Although student loan variations could be a sign of more significant socioeconomic inequities as well as an increase in them, however, other variables affect the amount of debt a particular group of people will have to pay:

  • The total U.S. population: The size of a group could influence specific data. For example, if a study reveals that one group has a higher number of students than others, this could be due to the higher number of members of that group.
  • Income differences are apparent, yet it’s still important to mention that people with more money after graduation will be more accessible to pay off their debt. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases a quarterly report showing that the wage gap exists between races.
  • Career distribution: In the same way the more members of the same group work in lucrative industries, such as engineering, science, technology, and math (STEM) fields, they will be more likely to pay back the student loan. Oppositely, those with a significant number of low-wage positions, such as food service, may take longer to repay their debts or face difficulty meeting minimum repayments.
  • Problems with credit and lending The best credit score is required to obtain a student loan from a private lender and, in particular, at a low-interest rate. In addition, if more members of a specific group are the target of predatory lending and student loans, repaying them is more challenging.
  • Wealthy families could choose to finance all the costs of their children’s schooling, making students debt-free after on. On the other hand, those struggling might have to depend on their children to provide financial assistance, which places an additional financial burden on those struggling to pay student loans.
  • Parents’ obligations: Young parents, primarily single parents, have to include childcare in their budget. They might not pay for this cost or even the necessities with their incomes. They may also have difficulty paying off their debt.
  • Cost of living in the local area The living fifties, like housing, may vary significantly. Students who attend universities that have higher costs in living expenses will require borrowing more money to pay for their living costs.
  • The type of institution: The cost of attending an institution may differ based on the type of institution: private or public and nonprofit or for-profit, and whether it’s two-year or four-year. These variations are apparent in the cost of tuition, fees, room and board textbooks, and other academic equipment.
  • Type of loan: There are two main kinds of student loan loans: federal ones backed by government agencies such as the U.S. government and private loans made by banks and other non-federal lenders. Many factors determine the degree of difficulty each loan has to pay back. For instance, Private loans are usually more expensive than federal counterparts and have higher interest rates.
  • Status as a graduate If a student takes out a college loan but fails to finish their studies, they’re left with substantial debt and with no economic advantages of a college degree. In addition, students looking to pursue a postgraduate degree might need to borrow additional funds in addition to the debt incurred during college education.

Before we discuss our findings of how student loan debt varies by race, there’s a second topic to consider: A lot of the research available on the different characteristics of student loan debt based on race is based on Black and White borrowers only. It’s not clear that the study covers all race groups in the United States. Certain data sets that pertain to the same or another group (s) do not include other groups. The information about the larger groupings could come from an entirely different (and often more current) source.

Be aware that the names of the groups mentioned below might not be consistent throughout the entire article to correspond with the language employed by our sources. For example, while Investopedia prefers to use the term “Latinx,” this article employs categories such as “Hispanic” to describe each we referenced reported the facts accurately.

How much student loan debt is incurred by race

Based on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at $44,880, on average Black borrowers took home the most federal student loan funds in 2019. Even though “Other” is technically second-highest in the category, with $40,400, there is no indication on the Fed’s website which types make up this group, limiting its usefulness for comparisons. White borrowers comprised the second-highest amount in one kind. In addition, Hispanic borrowers took out the least amount with $30,890.

Note: When the Fed began recording the statistics in 1989, Black borrowers had the lowest loan money from student loans. They surpassed the different categories (excluding “Other”) in 2010 and saw a decline in 2013.

An alarming number A sobering statistic: A study by the U.S. Department of Education observed that in the four years after graduation, 48 percent of Black students had had the burden of debts increasing to levels more significant than the amount they initially borrowed, compared to 17 percent from White graduates.

Average Student Loan Debt by Gender and Race

When we look at the intersection of gender and race gender, the general patterns are like what the Fed revealed. This is what the American Association of University Women (AAUW) discovered:

  • Black women carried the most student loans in 2021, with Black women taking the most overall debt, at $41,466.
  • The next largest group was Hawaiin women of the Pacific Islands, at $38,747. Next was the American Native/Indian women at $36,184. Then there was a White woman at $33,852.
  • Hispanic/Latinx were the next largest group, with $29,302.
  • Asian people who borrowed the most money owed the most negligible amounts, while men were slightly more in debt than women.

The percentage of graduates with debt by race

Other differences can be observed in the distribution of loans by race and the student’s location. This is the information that was reported in the Student Borrower Protection Center said (also apparent in the chart):

  • Graduates of Black/African Americans across all institutions comprised the most significant percentage of borrowers who borrowed money to fund higher education in 2020.
  • Asian borrowers had the lowest rates across all categories, which means they were more likely to graduate with no student debt.
  • White loan borrowers had the second-highest percentage of public two-year institutions and the third-highest percentage in both private and public four-year two-year colleges, and the fourth-highest in private four-year colleges that are nonprofit.
  • Percentages for Hispanic/Latinx students and American Indian/Alaska Native students generally were higher and excluded public two-year colleges.

It’s also important to note that across all five groups, the percent of borrowers at private two-year institutions that are nonprofit was the highest and had the lowest variation between the different groups. This is because private two-year colleges have a higher cost of tuition, as the Urban institute observed in 2017-2018.

The impact of race on student loan debt

It’s no secret that tuition costs for students are a massive problem for many borrowers regardless of background. Examining median income and student debt in 2009, the Brookings Institution found an ever-widening gap between what people make and the amount they owe to pay to fund their education. While the gap has narrowed in the past for Asian borrowers, it has gotten more pronounced for Black borrowers.

Black borrowers. Racial disparities in wealth make it more difficult for all students; however, it is mainly so in the case of Black borrowers. As per the Student Borrower Protection Center, Black students had lower family wealth and had to take on more loans to pay for their education in 2020 than the other students.

In addition, a report from 2017 by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discovered that postgraduate White households typically get financial support from their families. In contrast, their Black counterparts contribute a portion of their earnings to their families. These contributions hinder the potential to build wealth. In turn, when borrowers have children of their own, and they eventually go to college, the cycle starts again. In addition, carrying a higher amount of debt for student loans may affect your creditworthiness. Black families.

Latinx borrowers. They also face financial hardships due to the student loan debt they carry. As tuition costs rise and grant amounts decreaseUnidosUS found that Latinx students and their families typically choose to pay out of pocket or borrow student loans to pay for their education in 2019. Even though they had lower incomes and had less wealth between generations than their White classmates, Latinx borrowers had to pay more for colleges than White borrowers.

The purpose that private loan student loans play in the life of a college student.

The most significant contributor to the growing student debt problem for students of color is private loans. Private loans are a great way in addition to federal loans that may not allow students to borrow enough to pay for the costs of their education. But, they are not protected by some of the protections that federal student loans have and can help protect students from falling into default due to financial difficulties. In the end, private borrowers are left with fewer options in default on their loans.

Additionally, most federal loans do not need a credit check or have a fixed interest rate. Private loans typically do, and the interest rates are based on applicants’ credit scores and might require co-signers. The gap in wealth between racial groups can cause student loans to cost more since borrowers with fewer credit scores may be charged higher interest rates.

Based on the Student Borrower Protection Center, students of color (specifically Black and Latinx students) and borrowers with low incomes overall utilized private loans less frequently than White borrowers, yet had a higher chance to face difficulties paying off their loan debt. Black students were mainly four times more likely to struggle to repay personal debts than White students, although they are nearly twice more likely to use this type of loan.

Two possible contributing factors:

  • The private loans are subject to a credit screening, and interest rates depend on the borrowers’ credit score. They may also require a co-signer. (Most federal loans do not require credit checks, and have they have the same interest rate for all the borrowers.) The gap in wealth between racial and white communities can lead to more expensive student loans because people with fewer credit scores may be charged higher interest rates.
  • Additionally, students who attend for-profit institutions typically take out private student loans. Many of these schools, such as Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, have been accused of fraud about loans for students. Many of these loans are in the form of “shadow” debt. This generally unregulated market usually includes excessive interest rates, misleading marketing, and high-risk underwriting because Black borrowers are disproportionately represented in profit-oriented institutions and are the most susceptible to this type of credit that is predatory.

Private Student Loan Use & the Results

Repayments that differ

The most significant impact of the disparities in student loans is the impact they have on the ability of each class to pay their loans. In 2019, the Center for American Progress broke down the default rate of student loans according to race and type of institution from two years before.

The loan default rate was the lowest for public 4-year institutions, followed by private non-profit four-year institutions, public two-year universities, and private for-profit universities. Students of white have the highest default rate across all types of institutions. Hispanic or Latinx borrower rates were similar to White counterparts, and the most significant gap between the two categories was 7percent to “All institutions.” Black students had the highest rates of default, with the highest being 42percent for the private, for-profit companies.

The default rate of student loans for Default by Race & Institution

As discussed, the inability to pay back loans can lead graduates to fall into delinquency and eventually fail to pay. The financial burdens that could be devastating will be disproportionately felt by Black populations, while the difficulties in repaying debt cannot be attributed to income disparity by itself. According to Brookings, while there was a quantifiable difference in household income and wealth gaps in the case of Black borrowers and White borrowers in 2018, they accounted for a significant portion of the hole in default rates between the two populations. In addition, the gap is still when controlling the differences in degree education and the average of college grade points and post-college earnings and jobs.

The author suggested that the differences in servicing or counseling for loans might have contributed to the gap. In 2016 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found approximately 11,700 complaints from borrowers concerning private and federal loans, which included the most frequently-reported problems relating to repayment plans based on income or payment processing communication with the borrower. Although the CFPB stated that people of color could be facing additional issues in the current collection and servicing methods, it did not provide any evidence-based information. The different repayment rates could result from many of the variables discussed in this article, including the more significant proportion of Black borrowers who also aid their families and the more substantial percentage of White people whose families assist their families.

Information gaps

There’s the consensus that students loan debt is a significant issue for borrowers from diverse backgrounds, and it’s hard to assess the full extent of its impact. In the past, since most research was focused only on Black and White borrowers, there was little information on the ways other racial and different ethnicities are affected. For instance, there was evidence that Lumina Foundation was able to find it was the case that Black, Hispanic, and Native American borrowers generally had more financial requirements that were not met and incurred higher student loans as well as were likely to continue their education in 2020, the study didn’t mention whether this was the situation for Asian borrower and the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander borrower.

Asian Americans are often exempt from these data sets, as is apparent from the Federal Reserve’s research regarding the number of debt students owes and in the Center for American Progress’ study of default rates by race. In the former case, we can conclude there is a possibility that the “Other” category also includes Asian borrowing. Still, it’s not clear if that applies to the “All Borrowers” grouping, which could be one of the three categories in the graph. For instance, Brookings found that Asian borrowers were most likely to fail to pay their student loans between 2007 and 2008; however, this might not be the case in the future.

The Bottom Line

With the enormous cost of education, debt imposes on many Americans, especially students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and it’s not a surprise that there’s been a recent push for the cancellation of student debt. For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union has urged the Biden administration to make at least $50,000 for each borrower.

The issue of whether or not to make student loans forgivable isn’t an easy one, and it’s unlikely to provide a quick fix to the various discrimination in higher education. But, the notion that effort and college education are all you need to be financially successful overlooks the fact that sure students are disproportionately burdened with more burdens than other students.


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