The American Association of University Women leads comprehensive examination the status of women and student loan arrears is closely monitored each year. The poll often provides sobering conclusions, and the 2021 update is no different.
According to the latest report, women owe about two-thirds of the $ 1.7 trillion in outstanding student loans.
Women of color carry a disproportionately heavy burden. Deeper in Debt: Loans for Women and Students reports that black women are about 20% more in arrears on student loans than white women. Researchers found that one year after graduation, black women owe, on average, more than other women on undergraduate study loans, averaging $ 41,466 compared to $ 38,747 for Pacific Islander and Hawaiian women, $ 36,184 for American Indian and Alaska Native women, $ 33,852 for white women. $ 29,302 for Hispanic women and $ 27,607 for Asian women.
Black women, on average, also lead other women in cumulative student loan debt one year after graduate school of $ 75,086, compared to white women, who had the lowest average cumulative student loan debt among women after graduate school at $ 56,099.
Minority women are particularly hard hit by the lack of quality, affordable childcare, according to the study, many of whom report financial difficulties in trying to pay off their student loans. As a result, in many cases, minority mothers are unable to complete college. A report from the Center for American Progress notes that lack of childcare repeated from generation to generation, many mothers are unable to complete school, seek new job opportunities and increase their earnings to support their families because they cannot get affordable and reliable childcare.
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Factors Affecting Women’s Student Loan Repayment
This year’s AAUW study results highlight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on women’s finances and student loan debt. During the first weeks of the pandemic last year, according to the study, “women filed nearly 59% of unemployment claims, despite the fact that they make up only half of the workforce.” The researchers expect this to help increase women’s student loan debt.
Pay inequality also exacerbates the problem. AAUW research notes that it takes women about two years longer than men to pay off student loan debt. This may be partly due to the fact that women, on average, earn less than men.
Prior to the pandemic, women in their first year of college were expected to earn 81% of what their male counterparts received, according to a study. Longer debt holding times mean higher interest payments — less resources available to spend on important milestones such as buying a home, starting a family, starting a business, or saving money for retirement.
The problem is compounded by the rising cost of college tuition and related education costs. The cost of college tuition has more than doubled from the previous generation, even though “household incomes have not changed much,” the study said.
Resources for Reducing Women’s Student Loan Debt
Women under financial pressure are wise to study the resources available to them to minimize and manage student loan arrears. There are grants and scholarships that can help reduce the number of student loans taken out or, in other cases, help those who already have student loan debt problems.
For example, for non-traditional students: Charlotte W. Newcomb Foundation provides scholarships to mature students over 25 by sending grants directly to partner colleges and universities for selected students. The typical age of recipients is 35 and most of them work full-time or part-time and work as volunteers.
V Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund provides scholarships and support to low-income American women ages 35 and older to help them improve their lives through post-secondary education. The website notes that the definition of a fund of women who can apply includes “trans and non-binary people, intersex people and agenders, as well as queer people”.
Another resource to learn is Go girl! Grants The Girlfriend Factor program, a California-based women’s empowerment organization. Applicants must be over 25 years of age and have financial needs. These women must also work to earn a four-year degree or certificate in their chosen profession, and live and attend school in California’s Coachella Valley.
Women entering science, technology, engineering, or mathematics – or enrolling in STEM-related programs – can explore many options to help pay for college tuition. Two examples: BHW Scholarship in the amount of USD 3,000, and funding from Society of Women Engineers, which has awarded over 250 new and renewed scholarships in 2020, totaling over $ 1 million. V Paths to Science The nonprofit Institute’s Expanding Participation Initiative also provides funding opportunities targeted at women taking STEM courses.
Also, consider getting federal grants based on your financial need. V Pell Grant, for example, is awarded to undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. To apply for a Pell Grant, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
It is also worth exploring financial resources for women who are currently struggling with student loan debt. Singlemothersgrants.org, for example, offers a directory of information on all types of scholarships, grants and other forms of financial assistance for single mothers.
Other potential sources of help: repayment options for federal student loans that may make sense in your specific financial situation. You can also team up with nonprofit student loan advisors who are trained to help you consider your complete financial picture and explore options.
Finally, for all the uncertainty surrounding the expansion of federal measures to combat COVID, it is worth stay informed on information from the US Department of Education about the termination of emergency benefits for borrowers of federal student loans, which is scheduled for January 31, 2022.