The Supposed Great Equalizer: Student Loans and their Impact on African-American Students

The student loan crisis has become a buzz topic that presidential candidates frequently discuss in debates and town halls. Today, accumulated student loan debt equals $1.6 trillion, exceeding total accumulated car loans and credit card debt. What makes this a crisis is the fact that approximately 22 percent of student loan borrowers default on their loans; by 2023, 40 percent of borrowers may default on their student loans. Default has a negative impact on borrowers' credit scores and ability to live the American dream. Black Americans suffer the most when it comes to loan defaults, for reasons such as lack of familial financial capital, targeted recruitment by for-profit colleges, and lack of support after graduating or withdrawing from school. This article discusses student loans, their heightened impact on black Americans, and recommendations for institutions and the federal government.

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