Title: Student Debt Is Harming the Mental Health of Black Borrowers
Author: Victoria Jackson & Jalil B. Mustaffa
Source: The Education Trust
The Education Trust recently released its second of four reports focused on the challenges identified through qualitative data from the National Black Student Debt Study.
The first report highlighted how Black women in particular experience student debt. This new report highlights that, with the nearly $1.7 trillion carried by Americans in student loan debt, the challenges for repayment for Black borrowers are different due to systemic and structural racism. The authors note that these challenges have far-reaching consequences and that the toll of student debt on mental health is comparable to its financial harm.
Building off of their first report, Ed Trust’s new release identifies how Black students are more likely to borrow—and likely to borrow larger amounts—as well as struggle more with repayment as compared to their peers.
With inequitable distribution of wealth, rising costs of higher education, and challenges within the labor market, Black borrowers are often negatively impacted by student loans, owing over $39,000 on average upon graduation, compared to $28,661 for White borrowers. Because Black borrowers carrying the heaviest student debt burden and combined with the racial wage and wealth gaps that impact Black communities, this debt and financial stress can trigger both physical and mental well-being problems.
The authors note that 64 percent of participants in this study indicated that student debt had negatively impacted their mental health, with 69 percent noting a negative impact on their quality of life and 76 percent naming loans as their primary source of financial stress. Taken in aggregate with the fact that Black people are already 20 percent more likely to experience psychological distress from issues of racism, economic challenges, and other societal factors, the detrimental effects of student debt on mental wellness for Black borrowers are particularly salient.
The report concludes with several recommendations for policies to address both the challenges of student loans as well as growing areas of concern for mental health and well-being for Black student loan borrowers.
To read the full report, please click here.