Student loan debt has become a full-blown crisis for Americans, especially impacting women and people of color. In 2020, Americans collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt, making it the second highest consumer debt category, higher than both credit cards and car loans, and only behind mortgage debt.
Get the Facts
- Women hold nearly two-thirds of the nation’s student loan debt.
- Black women take on the greatest amount of debt compared to any other racial x gender group in America.
- For-profit colleges, which students of color are far more likely to attend, produce disproportionately high rates of student debt.
- The gender pay gap makes it harder for women to pay off their debt after they graduate. On average, women take two years longer than men to pay off their student loans.
- The COVID-19 pandemic will worsen this gap, as more women have lost their jobs, or are dropping out of the workforce or reducing their hours to take on childcare.
Know Your Rights
- It is illegal for debt collectors to harass or abuse you, including using obscene language, refusing to disclose their identity, threatening violence, calling obsessively, or making intimidating statements.
- Collectors are prohibited from communicating with third parties such as neighbors or coworkers (note this does not include a spouse or a parent/guardian if you are a minor).
- Collectors are generally prohibited from calling at night (9 pm – 8 am).
- In 2019, New York State passed the Student Loan Servicing Act, which created the New York Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, seen here.