According to The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap — a report by the American Association of University Women, women of color have it especially tough when it comes to paying back their student loans.
On average, women who graduated college in 2008 paid back 33 percent of their student loans by 2012, according to AAUW’s analysis of Department of Education data. Men repaid 44 percent of their debt in that period. Black and Hispanic women fared the worst of any group four years out of college. Black women had reduced their debt by only 9 percent in 2012, and Hispanic women had erased a mere 3 percent of their total loan bill.
Part of that comes down to how much debt it took to get through college.
Black women started life after college in the worst financial situation of any group. They took out a lot of debt to attend school—an average of $26,535—and took home the smallest paychecks of any group. In 2009 they earned $34,102 on average, meaning that, upon graduation, student loans took up a whopping 78 percent of their income.
And it’s even more difficult to pay back loans when you’re earning less money. “Women in the class of 2008 earned nearly $7,000 less than men one year after they graduated college. That gap widened to $11,000 by 2012.”
Researcher Catherine Hill had this to say about the gap: “People don’t believe that gender is still an issue. A lot of people think this is something of the past, that women seem to be doing well in education.” She added: “If you look at debt as a percentage of salary, it becomes clear that they aren’t in good shape.”
Do you agree with the study’s findings?