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The Department of Education estimates that 45 million Americans have borrowed $1.6 trillion in debt.
Tens of millions of these borrowers are getting a break. President Joe Biden announced a plan last week to forgive some student loans.
The plan will do more for some than for others. A breakdown of who holds the most student debt shows a stark disparity in how much of the financial burden falls on women and people of color.
Women hold two-thirds of student debt. And Pell Grant recipients (those in exceptional financial need) make up 60% of the “borrower population” according to the White House.
More than 70% of historically black college and university students are eligible for Pell grants according to the United Negro College Fund. But black borrowers owe double the amount of debt compared to white borrowers.
As higher education has become essential for upward social mobility, student loan debt has slowed that trajectory for many people of color.
So what parts of Biden’s plan will benefit those who have borne the most financial burden? And how might reducing student debt open up economic opportunities for people of color?
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