How Student Debt Affects Women, Minorities

Tim Goral's picture

The estimated $1 trillion in student loan debt affects individuals from all walks of life. However, according to two studies, women and minorities are two groups experiencing some of the greatest repercussions of student debt. So, how deep is the disparate impact on these groups, why does it exist and what can be done?

The existing gender pay gap is a significant challenge for college-educated women. A recent report published by the American Association of University Women, "Graduating to a Pay Gap," examines women and men recently out of college.

According to the report, among 2007-2008 bachelor's degree recipients who were employed full time in 2009, women earned $35,296 and men, $42,918. Even when men and women choose the same major, "women still often earn less than men do one year after college graduation," the report states. The report cites business majors as an example, where men out-earned women by $7,000.

This gender pay gap means women spend a larger proportion of their earnings on repaying loans and have less money to put toward other investments.

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