The U.S. Department of Education recently released a survey about long-term repayment outcomes for student loans borrowers. Unlike some previous studies, the latest data features results broken out by race and ethnicity, and the results were eye-opening.
For starters, African-American borrowers tend to default on student loans at a greater rate than all other demographics. Research found that nearly 50 percent of black students who borrowed money in 2004 for a bachelor's degree program had defaulted on a federal student loan by 2016. This is compared to 20 percent of white students and 11 percent of Asians.
After examining the repayment progress of the average African American college student starting in 2004 with student loans, it was found that these students owed more in student debt than what was originally acquired by 2016, or twelve years later.
More specifically, the average African-American student borrower who enrolled in a bachelor program in 2004 currently needs to repay 113 percent of what they originally borrowed. For reference, their Hispanic or Latino counterparts owed 83 percent of their original student debt over the same time period.
Additionally, African-American students were more likely to owe more on their student debt after twelve years regardless of successfully graduating or not. By 2016, the majority of the African-American borrowers who finished their degrees owed 114 percent of the original disbursement. For reference, the same statistics for white students was 47 percent, while the figure for Latino peers was 79 percent.
Research also revealed African-American students, in general, were more likely to apply for student loans than other demographics regardless of institution type. In one example, 62 percent of black community college students took out student loans, compared to 46 and 40 percent of white and Latino students respectively.
The research suggested the need for a full analysis of the federal financial aid program as well as heightened scrutiny of repayment success. Overall, the survey results suggest the need for greater accountability from the federal financial aid as well as institutions involved. While it has been found that black student borrowers generally owe more in student debt in the past, such a disparity in repayment success is unwarranted to a degree.