Women of color carry the biggest burden of student loan debt in the United States

Image courtesy of BELatina.

It’s no secret that the economic blow of the pandemic has yet to be felt. Little by little, we felt inflation strangling our wallets and family budgets.

This is especially true for women of color.

A new report published by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) found that women of color disproportionately bore two-thirds of the $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt.

CRL, a policy research group focused on consumer lending, used Census Bureau household survey data and a focus group of 33 diverse women who reported losing or quitting their jobs during the pandemic.

The CRL found that women have less job security today than before the pandemic and that any gains in the economy in 2021 have fallen unevenly on white people, especially white men.

The report concluded that women of color are more than twice as likely as white men to have more than $50,000 in student debt.

CRL’s research aimed to analyze changes in women’s finances over the past two years and the implications of these changes on women’s long-term financial well-being and ability to repay student debt.

“This research fills a gap in the academic literature by centering the perspectives and experiences of women borrowers,” the report states.

The CRL found that due to increased childcare responsibilities and the low-wage, low-paying nature of many women’s occupations, women of color and women in jobs that could not hold distance have less job security today than before the pandemic.

Likewise, the report explains that the economic gains made up to 2021 have not been shared equally between racial groups. Women of color continue to struggle financially to pay for necessities.

Despite the break in student loan repayments, the debt burden remains enormous, making repayment more difficult for women of color.

“Recognizing that the COVID-19 crisis has reshaped women’s relationship to work and their ability to save for the future, it is essential to adapt the policy solutions that will allow women to meet their short-term financial obligations and to don’t have unpaid student debt long-term financial planning,” recommends the CRL.

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