For HBCU Students, Student Loan Crisis Is Ever So Real

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HBCU students rely on student loans more than their non-HBCU peers, a new report says. 

Black college students borrow, on average, at higher rates than white grads — consequently, they graduate with substantially higher debt compared to their peers at non-HBCUs, according to a new report from UNCF.

But changes to federal policy could help students at historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, reduce their student loan debt.

Scroll down to view the report’s infographic.

UNCF’s FDPRI leader Dr. Brian K. Bridges said that today student loans “have become one of the primary ways students pay for college, but for students at HBCUs—many of whom are first-generation college students or who disproportionately come from low-income families and have less access to financial resources—the reliance on student loans is far greater.”

“When placed into the broader context of the types of students served at HBCUs, the findings of this report help us to better understand the factors that impact HBCU students’ need to borrow and their challenges repaying their loans,” Bridges said. “These factors include racial wealth gaps, declining investments in higher education, unmet financial need, limited institutional resources, and other economic barriers often experienced by African American students and their families. Despite these challenges, HBCUs continue to be a ‘best buy’ in higher education by offering by offering comparably lower-cost tuition and disproportionately producing African American college graduates.”

He continued:

“UNCF awards $100 million each year in need-based student scholarships to address the financial obstacles that HBCU students confront. We are doing our part. Now, the country must invest so that HBCU students can earn their degrees with more resources and less debt.”

“Recently, some analysts have questioned whether the student debt crisis is real. For HBCU students, who increasingly are on the hook for financing college costs, the crisis is ever so real,” Cheryl L. Smith, UNCF’s senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, said, urging the Trump administration, and Congress, to work to find solutions to help low-income and minority students graduate with less debt.

“This report documents the crisis and suggests four policy areas that are ripe for reform to reduce the heavy debt burden faced by HBCU students,” Smith said. “Congress and the next administration have an opportunity with the renewal of the Higher Education Act to lessen the financial load.”

Head over to UNCF to read the entire report.