Debt Can Be a Major Problem for Graduates of Black Colleges

As we have stated often in JBHE, money is the greatest barrier to increased opportunities for higher education among African Americans. Many black students forgo higher education because of their inability to pay tuition, the unavailability of sufficient financial aid, or the unwillingness to accumulate a large amount of debt.

New figures published by U.S. News & World Report show the debt problem is particularly acute at two historically black colleges. At Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina, virtually all students who graduate from the institution have accumulated debt. And the average debt load is $32,508, the third-highest level among all liberal arts colleges in the nation. Some 94 percent of all graduates of Morehouse College leave school with some debt. The average debt accumulated by Morehouse graduates is $27,000, which ranks tenth among all liberal arts colleges in the nation.

In contrast, only 26 percent of students who graduate from Princeton University have any debt whatsoever. And for those who do have debt, the average is under $5,000.