As of mid-2018, women held around $900 million in student debt in America, which is about 66% of all student debt. It is estimated that women who have college degrees and work full-time make 26% less than men. Hence, lower salaries translate to less income to invest in debt repayment and more interest accruing.
As former university dean Robert Craig and veteran investor Jim Rogers call it, “the higher education bubble” may soon burst with all the force of the real estate bubble and all other bubbles before it. Currently, this “bubble” accounts for a sixth of the American economy.
According to Craig and Rogers, college and university budgets deny the short- and long-term effects of defaults on student loans, rely on inflated real estate investment, expect a limited, temporarily employed faculty to help finance endowed tenure budgetary lines, and accept the increase in tuition cost above the inflation rate as normal.
Other experts also blame the for-profit college industry for the problem. Allegedly, it uses inflated graduation rates and job placement to lure prospective students into taking on debt.
Experts maintain that for-profit institutions enroll women, people of color, current and former US military members, and low-income students in a disproportionate manner.Statistics show that women had only paid an average of a third of their student debt three years after graduating from college, compared with almost 50% of men. Even less was paid off by African-American and Hispanic women in that period – 9% and 3%.
Earnings play an important role in this data. It’s harder to pay off loans when you’re making less money. At the same time, student loan debttends to take up a bigger share of women’s income compared to men’s income according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Student loans can have long-term effects for both women and men, from leading them to put off major life decisions such as getting married and buying a home to making saving for retirement more difficult. Generally, a college degree is considered a valuable investment, but evidence suggestssome students may benefit more from it than others.
Often, women use higher education as a way to achieve equality with men, but they are more likely to pursue degrees in areas that pay less, which compromises their ability to benefit from their degree. This is because women are forced to assert their interests based on choices that society intentionally limits.
High-paying areas like IT and engineering remain a relatively hostile place for women.The problems women face in these high-paying fields only widen the chasm between them and men, partially because the lower income means it takes them longer to repay student loans.