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Black students graduate with more college debt than whites

By Frederick H. Lowe
On May 17, 2016

( – This is the time of the year when college students proudly march down the aisle to their parents’ cheers, applause, shouts of approval, some relief and the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance. ”

That’s the good news.

Then there’s the bad news for Black students. Black graduates from lower middle-income families complete college with significantly higher debt than White students from similar economic backgrounds, according to a report, titled “Racial disparities in education debt burden among low-and moderate-income households.” Children and Youth Services Review published the report.

The report stated that lower-middle-income Black students incur $7,721 more in education debt by the time they graduate than lower-middle-income White students. The study noted that education-loan borrowing was significantly higher among Black students because their families have fewer financial resources to provide their sons and daughters. Some of the families may refuse to go into debt. Other students may choose to attend expensive for-profit-colleges.

Unless a family is Bill Gates-rich, they have to borrow to finance their child’s education. Education loan debt, a really big business, has reached $1.2 trillion, surpassing credit card debt, the report stated.

“Among graduates who earned a [four]-year degree in 2012, 63 percent of Whites and 81 percent of Blacks borrowed to pay for their degrees. In fact, compared with counterparts from other ethnic groups, enrolled Black college students incur the highest amount of federal education debt,” the report stated.

The high debt burdens Black students after graduation and limits their chances of enrolling in graduate school, according to the report. Even while Black students are enrolled in undergraduate school, an increase in college loan debt may lead them to drop out of school.

The report states, “Loan balances exceeding $10,000 promptly reduce students’ likelihood of finishing their degree at [four]-year universities, with students from the bottom 75 percent (income bracket) being the most vulnerable.” 

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