The persistent wealth gap between white Americans and Black and Latinx Americans limits the financial resources available to Black college students. While the median wealth for white families was $171,000 in 2016, according to the Center for American Progress, Latinx families had $20,700 and Black families had $17,600. This wealth gap means white families have access to financial resources that simply are not available to many Black families.
A lack of resources means fewer financial opportunities for Black students. This also translates into higher student debt for Black college graduates. As the American Council on Education concluded in its report on student debt, “Student debt is more of a burden for African American students than for others.” For example, while 29% of the Class of 2016 graduated without debt, only 14% of Black college graduates could say the same. Around one in three Black graduates took out over $40,000 in debt, a much higher figure than the average of 18%.