It is becoming increasingly expensive to finance a college degree. Though debt is a crisis for all students, the burden falls even harder on women because of the persistent gender pay gap. Between 2009 and 2012, men who graduated in the 2007–08 school year paid off an average of 44 percent of their student debt, while women in that group managed to pay off only 33 percent of their student debt. The gap in student loan repayment is even larger for black and Hispanic women with college degrees; they paid off less than 10 percent of their debt in the same time period despite working full time.
– Ensure existing borrowers have clear and easy to access income-based repayment options, that student debt be able to be refinanced, and that defrauded borrowers have strong protections and access to relief.
– Ensure that the maximum Pell Grant is maintained. To address the specific needs of nontraditional students, more than one Pell Grant should be available to students in a school year and the program’s income protection allowance, which determines how much aid working students qualify for, should be increased.
– Work to ensure all students have a pathway to a debt-free degree by decreasing costs and expanding supports.