Written by Leatrice Bulls
Student loans and debts have been a growing problem for young adults recently with almost half of college students taking out loans to assist in paying for tuition.
Though a universal problem for all college students, statistically, women are more affected by the issue than men not only because of the gender pay gap but also because about 44% of college females take out loans while only about 39% of college males do according to AAUW. On top of a larger percentage of females acquiring this debt, females also tend to take out much larger amounts of money in loans, about $3,100 more than their male peers. These discrepancies have led to about 67% of the country’s outstanding student loan debts belonging to women.
The most baffling part about the discoveries, however, is not the discrepancies among the amounts of money being borrowed across the genders, but rather the realization that even hypothetically starting from the same amount of debt, women would still fall behind. In most major industries women make about 20% less than their male coworkers, a distinction that is apparent even from undergraduate work-study jobs. This gap subsequently leads to women having to delay savings and future planning because of the approximately 1.9 years longer it takes them to pay off their debt.
Walker’s Legacy Foundation and University Women is committed to helping women through these obstacles with financial literacy programs so that young women can plan for the future while still learning and enjoying the lessons of being a young entrepreneurial woman. While it is unfair that female students, more so than males, need to make an extra effort to keep their college costs to a minimum, it reinforces the importance of resources, platforms, and opportunities for enterprising women as they achieve success both on and off campus.