Update 8/23/2022: White House officials are expected to announce on Wednesday that the administration will cancel $10,000 worth of student debt per person for borrowers making under $125,000 per year, according to reporting from CNN.
According to CNN, Biden officials are also leaning towards announcing another short-term continuation of the student loan debt freeze, which has been in place since March of 2020.
The administration has been heavily criticized for leaving borrowers in limbo since payments for student loans are expected to resume on September 1st, and in case you forgot, there’s $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt hanging in the balance.
On social media, many borrowers have expressed their discomfort with the total lack of clarity from the White House ahead of this fast-approaching deadline.
The uncertainty about what will happen to student loan debt, including whether Biden will go through with plans to cancel $10,000 in student debt, is clearly being felt across the board for borrowers.
But as folks on twitter like Washington, DC council member Janeese Lewis George, and others have pointed out, like almost every issue in this country, student debt has a disproportionate impact on Black Americans, and especially on Black women.
Black women in particular, carry the heaviest burden when it comes to student loan debt.
Black women have more debt than any other group, carrying an average of more than $38,000 of federal student loan debt, according to the Education Trust. Black women with masters degrees, also held far more debt than their peers, with an average student loan burden of over $58,000.
So why do Black women carry so much more debt, well, experts at the American Association for College Age Women, argue that it’s because women of color who take out student loans tend to make less money than their male peers, meaning they take longer to pay off loans on average and accrue more interest on their debts.
A quick snapshot of the pay gap between Black women with college degrees and other groups is pretty telling.
Black women aged 25-64 with a bachelor’s degree or higher working full-time had a median earnings of $60,681 in 2020, compared to $91,805 for white men, $75,329 for Black men, and $67,324 for white women, according to Education Trust.
We’ll likely know this week whether the Biden administration plans to extend the student debt pause another month. But for Black Americans with student debt, especially if they’re Black women, the financial stakes of Biden’s decision are undeniably higher.