The Financial Struggles Facing HBCUs and Students

By Writer for

Two students working diligently on their laptops

According to a 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Education, 42.9 million Americans have federal student loans. That’s 1 in 8 Americans. Furthermore, the current total outstanding student loan debt is $1.59 trillion, with most students leaving college saddled with nearly $30,000 in personal debt. However, there is one group of students that is, proportionally, accruing more student debt than others — African American students — and to a greater degree — African American students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

African American students typically graduate with, on average, $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. Students at HBCUs fare even worse. According to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), 80% of the students from HBCUs fund their education through federal loans compared to the 55% at non-HBCUs. They also borrow thousands of dollars more, with 25% of students borrowing $40,000 or more compared to only 6% of students at non-HBCUs.