Women’s starting salary slightly above average student debt

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  • The American Association of University Women has compared the burden of women’s student debt to their income.
  • Black women have more student debt than whites, highlighting the racial wealth gap.
  • AAUW recommended simplifying the repayment options that the Department of Education deals with.

Americans have a $ 1.7 trillion student debt burden, but new data show that women carry most of that burden, exacerbated by the gender pay gap.

The American Association of University Women, a non-profit organization that promotes women’s equality, has released a new document. report It found that among those who took out student loans, women borrowed an average of $ 31,276 and men borrowed an average of $ 29,720. It is also more difficult for women to pay off those loans, given that women who graduate with a bachelor’s degree expect to earn $ 35,338 in their first year after graduating from college – 81% of what men expect to earn, the report said, citing the latest available data.

The report says it is difficult and sometimes impossible for women to make ends meet with such low wages compared to costs.

“One year after college, women were spending an average of $ 920 a month on housing, $ 396 a month on car loans or rentals, and – for 16.3% of women who have a child – $ 520 on childcare, according to the latest figures. “, – the message says. “When you factor in an average of $ 307 a month in student loan payments, these numbers would be an unsustainable budget.”

Black women carry the burden of student debt more than whites. The report says that one year after graduation, black female borrowers averaged $ 41,466.05 in student debt, compared with $ 33,851.98 for white female borrowers.

Graph showing the size of women's student debt by race and ethnicity.

AAUW: Cumulative Undergraduate Study Loans for Women, including principal and interest, one year after graduation, by race / ethnicity.


American Association of University Women



In April, 36 human rights organizations urged to write off student debt to close racial and wealth inequalities in the country, which, they said, put borrowers “on the brink of financial ruin.”

The AAUW has recommended various measures to respond to this crisis, including writing off student debt on an equitable basis, simplifying repayment approaches, and closing the pay gap.

Insider previously reported that the Department of Education is working to improve student loan forgiveness programs, but the timeline for doing so and the details of what improvements these improvements will entail are vague. A department spokesman told Insider that more details will be provided after the agency receives feedback from stakeholders.

“The administration is committed to providing borrowers with access to the loan benefits to which they are entitled, and we look forward to working with the field to develop and implement much-needed improvements,” the spokesman said.

Leftist Roosevelt Institute recently found that despite the popular argument that debt relief will benefit the rich, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s plan to write off $ 50,000 of debt will actually benefit lower-income borrowers more.

“The time has come,” Warren told Insider last week. “We know what the problem is: Student loan debt is holding back tens of millions of people across the country. People who cannot buy houses, people who cannot buy cars, people who cannot start a small business. We need to cancel student loan debt not only for these people individually, but for our entire economy. “

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