9 ways student debt is one more thing that's worse for women than men

Larry Downing/ReutersWomen feel the weight of student-loan debt more than men.

The student-loan debt crisis is hurting many Americans – but it’s hitting women particularly hard.

As the cost of college continues to climb, so too does the nation’s student-loan debt total, which currently sits at $US1.5 trillion. Women hold the majority (two-thirds) of that total, according to the American Association of University Women.

While that finding is influenced by the fact that more than half of women have bachelor degrees compared to men, the gender pay gap is also at play. Women earn less than men in the workforce, which means it takes them longer to pay off their student-loan debt. This gives interest more time to accrue, further widening the debt load.


Read more:
10 mind-blowing facts that show just how dire the student-loan crisis in America is

Women also typically graduate with more student-loan debt than men, and studies have shown that women are more stressed by their debt levels and less likely to understand how to pay it off.

These nine startling facts show just how great of a burden student-loan debt is for women compared to men.


1. Women graduate with $US2,700 more student debt than men.

Julio Cortez/AP

While women earn 57% of bachelor’s degrees in the US, they hold two-thirds of the country’s outstanding student debt, according to a recent report by the American Association of University Women.


2. Around 37% of women reported not having the same understanding of how to pay off student loans, as compared to 20% of men.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The survey used 1,000 online responses from college-educated adults between January 31 and February 11, 2019. Student loan refinancing company Laurel Road conducted the study.

Women also reported being more interested in free personal finance courses than a free month’s rent than men were, the survey found.


3. Women are more than twice as likely as men to deem their student-loan debt unmanageable.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

According to a Student Loan Hero report, 28% of women with student loan debt said it was “not at all manageable,” compared to 13% of men. The survey included responses from 1,776 adults.

It also found that women were less likely to have heard of student loan refinancing. Of those who were aware of it, men were more likely than women to have refinanced their student loans.


4. 12 years after entering college, white women pay off just 28% of their student debt, while white men pay off 44% of their loans.

Associated Press

Black women borrowers, in contrast, see their loan balances grow by 13% on average 12 years after entering school, according to Demos.


5. While the average amount of debt for women amounts to $US21,619, the average amount of debt for black women exceeds $US30,000.

Getty Images

About 57% of black women reported that they had been unable to meet essential expenses within the past year due to student-loan repayment, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW).


6. Women are twice as likely to attend for-profit colleges, which cost more and have lower ‘quality’ degrees.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

For-profit colleges attract more women in part by offering convenient class structures for single mums, but “often the quality of the degree the student ends up getting, if they even finish, is much lower in a for-profit college, so their ability to pay back a loan is going to be more difficult,” Barbara Gault, vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, told The Chronicle of Higher Education.


7. Women today borrow more than they did in the ’90s.

Bryan Snyder/Reuters

Women in the class of 2012 owe more of the total student debt than their counterparts in the class of 1993, according to the Pew Research Center.


8. Women earn 27% less than their male peers in the workforce, which means it takes them longer to pay off their student loans.

Since it takes them longer to repay student loans, they accrue more interest and increase their debt load, reported Annie Nova for CNBC. Men repay 13% of their student-loan debt annually, compared to 10% of women, she wrote,citing AAUW.


9. Parents of all boys are more likely to save money for college than parents of all girls.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

That’s according to a survey from asset-management company T. Rowe Price, reported Maria Lamagna for MarketWatch. The survey included 1,000 parents – 238 had only boys and 155 had only girls.

About half of parents who have only boys have started a college fund for them, compared to 39% of parents who have only girls, the survey found.

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