The American Association of University Women published a report on women and college in spring of 2016. The study focuses on how women are struggling to pay back loans. If more females are currently attending college than males are and the ratio of minorities attending college or university is increasing, then what are the numbers for females and minority who are borrowing money? These changes in attendance demographics are very positive, but there may be some aspects of the system that still need correcting.
The fact is that women are struggling to repay their loans and Blacks and Hispanics have a higher drop out rate from college while holding a loan debt. The number one way to pay for college is with a student loan, but much work is still left to be accomplished. We have to keep the students in college and make sure that payoff is realistic.
The Numbers for Females
In 2012, Forbes took a closer look at females and college enrollment. They found that the increase in female enrollment began in the 1970s and it has been a gradual in crease since that time. Forbes writer Daniel Borzelleca States, “On a national scale, public universities had the most even division between male and female students, with a male-female ratio of 43.6–56.4. While that difference is substantial, it still is smaller than private not-for-profit institutions (42.5-57.5) or all private schools (40.7-59.3). “
The National Center for Educational Statistics notes that close to 20.2 million students attended college in 2015 and of that number 11.5 million are females. More females attended college than males last year. This is certainly a change from in the past. And this statistic is encouraging in the quest for gender equality.
If the female population in college attendance increased, then what about the number of females borrowing money to attend college? Vice.com states that more women are taking loans out for college or university than men. They are borrowing at a 68% percentage. This is alarming because women make less than men upon entering the work force. This sets up a scenario that makes it take more time for women to satisfy their loan payment.
Jill Filipovic in the 2014 Vice.com article entitled “Student Loan Debt is Leaving Women Broke and Vulnerable” states, “They’re also making less money with which to pay off that debt. The combination is making women poorer, more dependent, and setting them up for a more tenuous retirement. And it’s creating a systematic gender wealth gap that persists for women’s entire lives.” Women need to make equal pay as men to not be burdened more than men with the repayment process.
Minorities and the Numbers
The National Center for Educational Statistics also sees a rise in college enrollment for Hispanic and Black students. “Increasing numbers and percentages of Black and Hispanic students are attending college. Between 2000 and 2013, the percentage of college students who were Black rose from 11.7 to 14.7 percent, and the percentage of students who were Hispanic rose from 9.9 to 15.8 percent. Also, the percentage of Hispanic 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college increased from 21.7 percent in 2000 to 33.8 percent in 2013; the percentage of Black 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled did not change measurably during this period. “ The numbers are gradually going up.
Demos.org found that Blacks and low-income students borrow more money to attend college. “A full 84 percent of graduates who received Pell Grants graduate with debt, compared to less than half (46%) of non-Pell recipients. While less than two-thirds (63%) of white graduates from public schools borrow, four-in-five (81%) of Black graduates do so. Latino graduates borrow at similar rates and slightly lower amounts than white students. “
Sadly, Blacks and Hispanics are also dropping out of college at a higher rate while holding college loan debt. While 29% of white students leave school with a loan debt, the number is 65% for Black students and 67% for Hispanic students at a four-year college. This means many of these students will also have to take out private loans to pay for their college. The students have to have enough money to stay in college and then obtain employment to pay off the loan after graduation. The career market pays higher for the person with the college degree, and the degree has to be obtained to break the negative cycle.
Good but Bad
While it is very encouraging that more females, Blacks, and Hispanics are attending college, we must figure out how to keep them there and how to make the repayment process easier and more realistic than it currently is. Additionally, the pay for women needs to be the same as for men in order to make the loan repayment doable for women. The number one method for paying for college is via the college loan. The fact that this opportunity for women and minorities exists more than ever is amazing. It is also amazing that the demographics are changing, but there is still more work to be done.