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Student Debt: Is It About Race or Reality?

Here's an excerpt from an interesting article about student debt in Marketwatch:

"There’s new evidence black student loan borrowers are struggling more to pay down their debts than borrowers of other races.

Twelve years after entering school, the typical African-American student loan borrower owes more than they took out, according to an analysis of recently released federal data published by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.

Black borrowers who began school during the 2003-2004 academic year owed 113% of what they originally borrowed 12 years later, CAP found. That’s compared to 65% for white borrowers and 83% for Hispanic or Latino borrowers. That trend continues a pattern from earlier years. African-American borrowers who started school in the 1995-1996 academic year, owed 101% of what they borrowed, compared to 60% for white borrowers and 72% for Hispanic or Latino borrowers."

Those are pretty startling statistics for black borrowers. But, while not as severe, the fact that white's and hispanics still had 65% and 83% of their original debt - 12 years later - is pretty shocking as well. In other words, there seems to be a race component but student debt is not a race issue.

The real issue is the perception student debt as a fait accompli. With education costs rising year after year young people (and their parents) can ill afford to take that view. Better to take the one that treats student debt as a last resort - one undertaken after all other options (scholarships, grants, jobs, etc.) have been considered and exhausted. - so as to minimize its debilitating effect on one's quality of life.

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