A new study has found that Black women are the demographic burdened the most by the student loan debt crisis in the United States — taking on the biggest debt load for the longest amount of time.
While Black women are the most educated demographic in America, this acclaim comes with a major its own set of consequences. The new “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans” study shows that Black women have by far the most outstanding student debt after college graduation compared with both white men and white women.

The report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that African-American women amass an average of $30,400 of debt by college graduation, compared with $22,000 held against white women and $19,500 held against white men. 

The reports also found that women overall owe almost double the country’s student loan debt at $890 billion, compared to $490 billion owed by men. Women, who account for 56 percent of enrolled college students, are far more likely than men to graduate owing money at 71 percent for female graduates and 66 percent for male graduates, CBS News reports.

“Student debt levels have reached an all-time high, with women carrying a bigger burden of debt than men,” said Kim Churches, the chief executive officer of AAUW. “This debt is an albatross for many women as they embark on careers and work to support their households and families. And, it only gets worse over time when coupled with the gender pay gap.”

The problem is further compounded by the nation’s gender and racial pay gap. Indeed, for every dollar a white man makes, a Black woman makes 63 cents, forcing Black women to take years longer to pay off their student loan debt. 

A 2016 AAUW report found that women who work full-time jobs bring in just 80 percent of the income their male coworkers earn. Black and Hispanic women with bachelor’s degrees make 37 percent and 34 percent less, respectively than white men with bachelor’s degrees.