As student loans mount for Black women, leaders are split on how to help

When Ashley Young was a college counselor at an Atlanta charter school, spring was her least favorite time of year — not because students didn’t get into college, but because they couldn’t pay for it.

The question of paying off student loans is particularly acute for Black female borrowers, who have more debt than any other demographic group. They graduate owing an average of nearly $39,000, according to the nonprofit the Education Trust. Georgia has the third-highest amount of average debt for all borrowers, behind Washington, D.C., and Maryland, according to federal data.

“We are seeing the intersection of racism and sexism have a really profound effect on Black women,” Young, now an education analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said of the statistics.

In the wake of this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions that blocked President Joe Biden’s debt forgiveness plan and restricted affirmative action college admissions programs, analysts and politicians in Georgia are debating the best strategies to support Black women seeking to enroll in and afford college. Some advocate implementing widespread need-based aid and adding an income cap to merit scholarships to address the inequities. Others disagree with that approach.

Read the full article from the AJC.

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