The Debt Burden and Students of Color

The average college graduate now holds $26,600 in debt upon graduation. This is a large number, and one that seems to increase with every graduation class, but it’s not a particularly surprising figure, in and of itself.

But this number isn’t evenly distributed across the graduating class. In fact, according to a recent report by Campus Progress and the Center for American Progress, students of color have greater debt problems. The paper reveals that:

African American and Latino students are especially saddled with student debt, with 81 percent of African American students and 67 percent of Latino students who earned bachelor’s degrees leaving school with debt. This compares to 64 percent of white students who graduate with debt.

In addition,

27 percent of black bachelor’s degree earners had more than $30,500 in debt compared to 16 percent for their white counterparts. Compared to 43 percent of their white peers, 69 percent of black students listed student debt loads as a key reason for dropping out.

74 percent of young Latinos opted out of attending colleges at all, citing financial reasons… as unique barriers to enrollment.

Remember this when we wonder in 20 years or so why the educational attainment rate of ethnic minorities remains lower than that of the rest of the population. Seriously, it’s all about the debt.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer