The Stranglehold of Student Loan Debt

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New data shows that the families that take on the most debt for college loans are not the Ivy League fancy schools. In fact, it is the smaller arts schools, private schools, and Black colleges where parents have financed upwards of $100,000 in tuition.

The U.S. Department of Education released annual college financial data and this data showed just how much parents were borrowing in the hopes of a better future for their children. At the top of the list is Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college with the median debt amount was $112,127. Consider that these are high-interest loans and that the average payment amount on a loan of that size is over $1,200 per month.

Even low-income families had massive debt. At Spelman, the median debt for those families was $83,894.

According to the Wall Street Journal, these loans require “only a scant check of a parent’s credit history before extending loans, and it performs no assessment of the ability to repay. The result: Some parents have taken on amounts they have little hope of repaying, student-debt researchers say.”

Why it matters

This is predatory. It preys on parents’ innate propensity to dream of the best possible future for their children while sacrificing their own financial health. President-elect Joe Biden has hinted at canceling up to $50,000 in student debt but this move would not prevent students from racking up more. It is a bandaid on a larger problem of for-profit education and predatory loan industry. Consider that the European Union offers free or nearly free university for all members without requiring students to redo core classes that they did in high school. It can be done. The U.S. just doesn’t.


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