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Why do women have more student loan debt than men?

Maddie Moore
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For the last decade, women have outnumbered men on college campuses, making up 56 percent of the enrolled student population.

Unfortunately, we’re also ahead in another way: how much debt we graduate with.

According to a depressing 2017 report released by the American Association of University Women, women hold nearly two-thirds of this country’s student debt ― about $833 billion, compared to $477 billion for men.

Why is this happening?

Women with bachelor’s degrees who worked full time in 2016 earned 26 percent less than men with bachelor’s degrees who worked full time, which averages to a difference of about $1,416 less per month.

The reasons for the income inequality vary, from job discrimination to choosing motherhood. Whatever the cause, when you combine higher amounts of debt with lower incomes after graduation, you get a recipe for financial hardship.

Over the past year, about a third of women with student debt reported having trouble covering their basic living expenses due to their loan burden. And when race is factored in, women of color fare even worse: about four in ten Latinas and six in ten black women say their monthly student debt payments get in the way of buying basic needs.

Thanks in large part to the persistent gender pay gap, American women take longer to pay off their loans, and spend more time living under the weight of their debt.

This can affect everyday financial choices until the debt is paid off… which can take forever… even without all that. 

Women deserve an equal opportunity to succeed. Stand with those who show so much academic promise but are disproportionately weighed down by student loan debt by sharing this article. Because people need to know. 

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