Black College Grads More Likely to Graduate With Debt
September 22, 2014

A new study from Gallup and Purdue University reveals that black students carry more student loan debt than their white counterparts. The survey assessed 29,560 college graduates across the United States from 2000 to 2014, and each one of the students had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

According to the study’s results, black college graduates are more likely to leave school with student loan debts than white college grads. A staggering 78% of black students in the survey revealed that they had some sort of student loan debt, compared to whites at 62%. Exactly half of the black graduates surveyed revealed that they had $25,000 or more in student loan debt.

The number of students who use loans to help pay for their education has increased greatly over time. Only 48% of black students had loans in the 1970’s, but that number jumped to 63% in the 1980’s. It has been on the rise ever since.

Another statistic worth noting is the number of first-generation college students in each racial category. 48% of black college students said that they were the first ones in their family to graduate from college, and only 37% of white students said the same. These numbers have decreased over time, which indicates that college is becoming a priority for American families. 60% of all college students in the 1970’s were first-generation, but only 40% of students fit that classification today.

Despite the hefty burden of student loans that many black college students have to face, only 17% of recent black college graduates report that they are thriving financially. By comparison, 31% of white recent grads say that they are doing well with their money. This is much lower than the rates for the 1970’s, which were 42% for blacks and 53% for whites.

Even though black students are more likely to graduate from college now than they ever have been, most of them carry heavy student loan debts when they get out of school. Combine this with low levels for financial well-being among the black community, and we have an alarming issue that needs to be addressed for the future.