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Analysis: Black Students More Likely To Have High Student Loan Debt

Photo of a ball and chain with "student loans" written on it

A breakdown of education statistics shows racial disparities in student loan debt.

The left-leaning North Carolina Justice Center compiled the report from federal education data, as well as studies from the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute. 

It says black students are more likely to have student debt, and more likely to have higher balances when they graduate. 

NC Justice Center policy advocate Marion Johnson says financial support for assistance like need-based scholarships is not keeping up with demand.

"We're seeing student loan debt rise in North Carolina as we're seeing public university tuition rise," Johnson said. "We're seeing that as state funding for public universities is declining, and our median income in the state has barely budged since 2008."

Johnson says about 40 percent of black students graduate with debt, compared to 30 percent of white and Latino students. Black graduates also have more debt, on average.

"In fact, once (black students) graduate, we're seeing the debt gap triple to about $24,720, and so they are both starting college and leaving college with much more debt than their white peers," she said.

Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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