By Aisha Powell
August 14, 2021
Student loan debt has always had an impact on the Black community.
According to a 2016 report by Brookings, Black college graduates with bachelor’s degrees owe an average of $7,400 more than White graduates ($23,400 versus $17,000). However, due to interest accrual and post-bachelor degrees, that number increases to Black graduates owing more than $53,000 in student loan debt four years after their bachelors — twice as much as white graduates.
To compare, 35% of Black baby boomers had college loan debt at a median of $6,000. Today’s younger Black college graduates owe a median of $44,000, which is more than seven times the debt from their parent’s generation.
The net worth of Black households in their 30s has also fallen to $8,300 from $50,400 three decades ago.
“Even at the upper end of the Black wealth distribution, average and median wealth are significantly lower than that of white houses at the top of the wealth distribution,” said Fenaba Addo, an professor of public policy at UNC Chapel Hill who studies debt and racial wealth inequality, in a 2020 interview with Market Watch. “This manifests in differences in financial assets, home equity and access to resources that could potentially help their children to pay for college. As college costs have risen, the increasing burden of college costs has shifted from federal and state aid to students and families. People with more resources are able to contribute more.”