Approximately 45 million Americans carry $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, but the financial challenges facing Black borrowers are numerous. Black students are more likely to borrow, borrow more, and are more likely to struggle with repayment than their peers, because they collectively have fewer resources due to the generational and ongoing effects of structural racism. This debt burden has far-reaching financial consequences, and research also shows that student debt contributes to poor mental health. In fact, the toll of student debt on people's mental health can be just as devastating as the financial harm it can cause.
Drawing on survey responses from our National Black Student Debt Study, this brief describes how student debt has affected Black borrowers financially and mentally—with 64% of survey participants reporting that student debt negatively impacted their mental health.