The student loan industry is crazy–we all know people affected by astronomical student loan debt. In general, Americans owe around $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, according to Forbes. This comes to roughly 44 million borrowers; the average class of 2016 grad has $37,172 to repay.
The thing that may surprise you (or not) is the fact that women make up two-thirds of student loan debt, bearing much of this burden. The American Association of University Women stated:
“This report reveals that [women] also take on larger student loans than men. And because of the gender pay gap, they have less disposable income with which to repay their loans after graduating from college, so they require more time to pay back their student debt than men.”
The report shows that 44% of female undergrads take on student loans, higher than the 39% of men that do. It’s important to note that women take out 14% more in loans, but women working full time usually make 18% less than men a year after graduation, and 20% less four years after graduation.
Not surprisingly, race place a factor, as black women usually have to take out the most loans:
“The typical white family has 16 times the accrued wealth of the typical black family in the United States. It is unsurprising, therefore, that students and families of different races and ethnicities have very different levels of resources to contribute to the costs of postsecondary education.”
This means, of course, that it’s harder for women to become independent and truly self-sufficient since they’re putting a lot of their income into paying their student loans, besides food and rent and healthcare. Student loans are a problem for everyone, considering it limits who has access to an education, and then also who has access to saving money, buying a home, and having children.