Women Hold Nearly Two-Thirds of Student Loan Debt in the U.S., Report Says

Women are carrying nearly two-thirds of all student debt load in the United States, according to a report from the American Association of University Women, an advocacy group.

One factor is that more women go to college, representing 56 percent of students enrolled in the fall of 2016, according to the latest data.

“Because of the gender pay gap, (women) have less disposable income with which to repay their loans after graduation, requiring more time to pay back their student debt than do men,” the report states.

Partly as a result of the pay gap, women hold nearly two-thirds of the outstanding student debt in the United States — almost $900 billion as of mid-2018. The average woman owes $2,740 more than a man upon finishing a bachelor’s degree, the report said.

Among those who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 with debt, the average amount was $28,400, according to The College Board. That’s an increase of $22,100 from 2001 (reported in 2016 dollars). This data does not include those who went to a for-profit college.

Overall, Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loans, a high mark high during the first quarter of 2018, according to Federal Reserve data. Outstanding student debt currently exceeds auto loan debt ($1.1 trillion) and credit card debt ($977 billion).