Jon Ossoff’s plan to ensure HBCU students can graduate debt-free

There are 101 HBCU colleges according to the National Center for Education Statistics and the student debt crisis has hit Black borrowers especially hard. Julia Barnard, an expert on student debt and researcher for the Center for Responsible Lending, told CNBC structural discrimination is the underlying issue for student debt disparity. “It’s a larger civil rights issue,” said Barnard.

A 2019 study by the NAACP and CFRL, co-authored by Barnard, found “for students of color, and particularly for African American students and families, the current system can be catastrophic, too often turning visions of increased opportunity into lasting financial burdens.”

Nearly 85% of Black college students graduate with student debt compared to 64% for Whites.

The average White student owes $30,000 coming out of college compared to almost $34,000 for Black students. And Black women get hit hardest, according to the study:

“Women — and particularly African American women — are more likely to take on student loan debt, face a wage gap in the workforce, and struggle with repayment. Women graduate, on average, with $2,700 more in student loan debt than their male counterparts. And because women earn less than their male counterparts in the workforce, paying off their debt takes significantly longer.”

Ossoff promises to reform public education funding “so there is not inequality in the funding of public education a long race and class lines.”

Early voting is underway for the Jan. 5 runoff races. Find your polling location on My Voter Page.

— karen araiza

Araiza’s award-winning work as a journalist includes a national Emmy for work on struggles facing law enforcement and a national Murrow Award for documentary and storytelling on the opioid crisis.

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