Black borrowers are struggling to repay student loan debt, here’s why

The Federal Reserve of New York reports that African-American college students graduate with a higher loan bill than other racial groups

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According to the Federal government, Black college students in cities such as Brooklyn and Chicago are drowning in student loan debt at higher numbers than white borrowers.

Matter fact, according to research economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan debt weighs heavier on Black Americans, and the reason may not be all that surprising.

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The fact that Black Americans earn a relatively lower income that other racial groups is part of the problem, as they lack the money and resources to make payments, the Fed researchers said, per CBS News.

The data also noted that “Black college students either graduate or drop out with a higher loan bill than other racial groups,” the outlet writes.

“Borrowing rates are somewhat higher in areas with a majority of Black residents, at 23%, compared with 17% in Hispanic-majority ZIP codes and 14% in white-majority ZIP codes,” the Fed researchers wrote. “These differences are likely explained, in part, by income disparities, as lower-income students are more likely to need student loans to afford tuition.”

Here’s how the Fed data breaks down:

  • Students living in predominantly urban or Black areas have an average student loan balance of $37,000 or higher
  • Meanwhile, white student’s, on average, have a balance of $34,000
  • The data also suggests that 18% of Black borrowers are twice as likely to default on student loans compared to 9% of white borrowers

“Black graduates still earn less at their first post-graduate jobs compared to other races,” said Marcus Garrett, who hosts a podcast on how to eliminate debt. “Typically, African-American households have less median income,” he added. “Therefore, the children of these households would theoretically need to take on more school loan debt.”

And this is one of the main reasons why paying off student loans remains an uphill battle for Black Americans.

“It’s a Catch-22 to try to make additional payments when you’re already struggling to just make minimum payments,” Garrett said. “Yet, the main solution to paying off loan debt — beyond lowering the interest rate — is to make additional payments above the minimum payment whenever possible.”

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Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have shared their vision for eliminating student loan debt, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has stated that if elected president she intends to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for over 40 million borrowers. Over the summer, Senator Bernie Sanders announced a bill that would eliminate all student loan debt.