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By Tod Massa
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#Deeperindebt was a trending hashtag on Twitter this week. It's a reference to a report from AAUW - the American Association of University Women. From the website:

Right now about 44 million borrowers in the United States hold about $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans. The scale of outstanding student loans and an increasing share of borrow­ers who fail to repay have made many Americans aware that student debt is a challenge for society and for individual borrowers. Yet despite the fact that women represented 56 percent of those enrolled in American colleges and universities in fall 2016, many people do not think of student debt as a women’s issue. This report reveals that women also take on larger student loans than do men. And because of the gender pay gap, they have less disposable income with which to repay their loans after graduation, requiring more time to pay back their student debt than do men. As a result, women hold nearly two-thirds of the outstanding student debt in the United States — more than $800 billion.

This really is an important issue. It is not just a national issue, it is a state issue. Our data show that there is 15 percentage point difference in the proportion of graduates borrowing between majority men and women of color and a $5,000 difference in the median. Simply put more women of color borrow, and they borrow more.

If Virginia is to achieve its goal of becoming the best educated state in the nation, students of color, and especially women will be a substantial part of the population of graduates we need and so this is a reality we must address.


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