Report Claims Systemic Racism Places Increased Strain On Black Student Loan Borrowers

The Education Trust recently released a report detailing how student loan debt increases mental stress for black borrowers.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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black borrowers

The Education Trust recently released a report detailing how student loan debt increases mental stress for black borrowers. This is described as being a result of “systematic racism” and generational woes. More than half of the participants surveyed admitted that student loan debt affected their mental well-being and despite the fact that all students of various races are impacted by student loan debt, a focus on this specific group is being pressed.

The black borrowers research brief claims that black students are more likely to borrow more than others and struggle more with repayment than other ethnic groups. While this is true in many cases, students across all ethnicities have required more tuition assistance as the cost of attending college has increased throughout the years. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2019 71% of black students took out student loans compared to 56% of white students, and 50% of hispanic students. Despite this black students were also more likely to receive debt-free grants as well. 88% of black students were given debt-free grants to attend higher education programs, putting them at the top of the grant pool ahead of other minority demographics like Native Americans and hispanics. 

As The Education trust continues to perpetuate the belief that America is systematically racist against black students, colleges are giving black borrowers and other minorities far more grants and lending options in order to ensure they are able to attend school. Furthermore, many universities have expressly implemented race-based admissions processes to ensure that black students and other ethnic groups receive precedence over white applicants. Most states support affirmative action and encourage this practice for higher education opportunities that provide black borrowers with more options than just taking on hefty student loan debt. 

It is a well-known fact that student loan debt negatively impacts the mental health of most borrowers. Signing for a loan and having to work off payments is a long-term sacrifice that students have had to make for decades. The current economic uncertainty is exacerbating these frustrations and has led to drops in college enrollment, but assuming that this is systemic racism at work, affecting only black borrowers, completely ignores the fact that the price of college, in general, has become a serious issue for all students and that mental health issues have increased among all demographics due to the long-term effects of pandemic protocols and economic uncertainty. 

The Education Trust used its claims to insist that student loan debt should be canceled, the federal government should take on more responsibilities and regulate loan payments, and that Congress should double Pell grant funding. These “solutions” are presented as free and easy ways to end the struggles of black borrowers, but in fact would increase the national debt and raise inflation rates even higher than they have already skyrocketed to. This would further burden the working class and underprivileged because it would raise already extraneous costs of living and further burden future generations with taxes that do not reflect pay rates nor encourage income stability.  

black borrowers

Blaming “systemic racism” or focusing on race over the state of the education system, the economy, and cultural issues within the various ethnic groups throughout the United States does black borrowers a disservice. Asking for more costly government intervention only drives prices higher and places low-income families at a greater disadvantage. Whether The Education Trust has studied the economic impact of taxing Americans to solve societal issues is unlikely based on the solutions they provided. Regardless, organizations like this have latched onto Critical Race Theory ideology and are likely to continue promoting expensive solutions for complex issues.