You’ll never guess how much of America’s student debt is owed by women

Student loan debt is a major problem for people of all genders, races and ages. In fact, recent research shows that the outstanding student loan balance reached $ 1.59 trillion among 44.7 million borrowers in debt.

Although many are affected by debt, it is a greater financial burden for some than for others. In particular, women take out more student loans and have more debt than their male counterparts. There are several reasons for this, some of which are good for women and some very bad.

Image source: Getty Images

To get a clearer picture of the student loan crisis, it’s important to understand how much total student debt is owed by women – and this understanding is essential for formulating policy fixes when policy solutions are being considered.

How Much of America’s Student Debt is Owed by Women?

According to recent research from The Ascent, women owe the vast majority of student debt in the United States. In fact, women are responsible for almost two-thirds of the country’s current student loan debt.

Women are both more likely to graduate with debt and more likely to have a higher debt balance than their male counterparts. In total, 41% of female undergraduates borrowed in the 2015-2016 academic year, compared to just 35% of men. And in 2016, the average student debt balance of female bachelor’s degree holders was $ 21,619, compared to $ 18,880 among their male counterparts.

Why Do Women Have More Student Loan Debt?

There’s a positive reason women have more student debt: They get more degrees.

As Ascent’s research on the gender pay gap revealed, women have obtained the majority of bachelor’s degrees each year since 1982, the majority of master’s degrees since 1987, and the majority of doctorates since 2006. As women earn more degrees, it is only natural that they are responsible for a higher degree. larger portion of the total outstanding student loan balance. Earning all these degrees is expensive.

Unfortunately, there’s also a much less positive reason why women owe more: the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap has persisted for decades, with median earnings data showing a gap between what women and their male counterparts earn since 1979. Although things have improved, even in 2018, women had median earnings equal to only 81% of the median earnings of men in the United States.

Unfortunately, the fact that more women now have degrees has not closed the gender pay gap. In fact, there is actually a larger income gap between women with a bachelor’s or graduate or vocational degree and men with similar credentials than the gap for less educated women. .

What can be done?

Unfortunately, the student loan crisis and the gender wage gap probably need political solutions. However, individual women may also aim to improve their own situation, although their efforts are not always successful given entrenched attitudes regarding gender and wages.

Women, like men, should explore scholarship and grant opportunities to make the cost of their education as inexpensive as possible. Women can also turn to local women’s groups and organizations that specifically assist with their advancement to perhaps find additional financial assistance that may not be available to their male counterparts.

Women should also aggressively negotiate for a higher salary when starting a job and should be assertive in negotiating raises. While research has shown that women are less likely to get a raise even when they ask for it, it’s still worth trying to earn as high a salary as possible. Women should also look for employers with open wage policies or who use standard pay rates for each position so that they are less likely to be affected by a gender gap in the wages they earn.

Of course, these suggestions put the onus on women to correct a problem that is not their creation. Yet, unless and until societal change occurs, women owe it to themselves to do what they can to try and earn a salary commensurate with their education and experience so that they can better repay the burden. heavy burden of student loans they have taken out.

About Hannah Schaeffer

Check Also

Indonesian priest’s hydropower project loses its spark

Almost ten years ago, Father Marselus Hasan made it his mission to provide hydroelectric power …