Seventy-seven percent of Howard University graduates leave school with student loan debt. (Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Nearly half of African-American students are in default on their federal student loans, and some 12 years later they will owe significantly more than they borrowed, according to a new report based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, wrote in the report released earlier this month by the Center for American Progress, that the default rate among Black students (49 percent) was more than twice that of White students (20 percent) and more than four times the rate of Asian students (11 percent).

“The differentials are still present across sector, with more than one-third of Black students defaulting across all sectors while a relatively small percentage of Asian students defaulted across all nonprofit sectors,” Kelchen wrote. “Default rates at for-profit colleges are high for all racial/ethnic groups, with almost half of white students defaulting alongside nearly two-thirds of Black students.”

The Trump administration expected to end a federal student loan forgiveness policy set in motion by the Obama administration for students defrauded by for-profit colleges. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering a plan for those students that offers only partial debt relief.

By comparison, Obama’s plan, which affected tens of thousands of students, would have erased approximately $550 million in loans.

The Obama administration last year banned some schools, such as ITT Technical Institute, from enrolling students who received federal aid, citing an investigation which concluded that several proprietary career schools had mislead students about their job prospects and charged high tuition rates, while providing substandard education.

Likewise, prior to Trump assuming office, students sued his for-profit real estate school — Trump University — claiming the school misrepresented both the quality of education and instructors and left many of them in major debt.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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