The Rising Cost Of Higher Education And The Resulting Student Loan Debt Crisis Have Disproportionately Impacted Black Women, Exacerbating The Generational Wealth Gap.

Addressing the Student Debt Crisis and Generational Wealth Gap for Black Women

This post is based on a conversation about the disproportionate burden of student-loan debt shouldered by Black women that Radical Candor author and co-founder Kim Scott had with Prosp(a)rity Project Co-Founder, President, and CEO Bri Taylor on Juneteenth 2023.

The rising cost of higher education and the resulting student loan debt crisis have disproportionately impacted Black women, exacerbating the generational wealth gap.

According to Briana Taylor, founder of the Prosp(a)rity Project, Black women in the U.S. shoulder a staggering $35 billion of the $2 trillion student debt burden while having the lowest rate of financial literacy at 35% compared to other demographics.

Taylor’s personal experience exemplifies the harsh realities faced by many Black women pursuing higher education.

Despite being accepted into an Ivy League institution, a dream for many first-generation college students, she found herself struggling academically and financially.

By the time she graduated, Taylor had accumulated $100,000 in student debt, a burden that would haunt her for years to come.

The promises of lucrative job opportunities and the idea that an Ivy League degree would open doors did not materialize. Instead, Taylor found herself earning between $10 to $15 an hour in contract and temp work, unable to keep up with the $750 monthly loan payments. Her credit score plummeted, and her co-signers faced the consequences of her missed payments.

The Prosp(a)rity Project aims to address this crisis through its flagship “35*2 Free Initiative.” The comprehensive program provides debt relief scholarships, financial coaching, and career development to Black women saddled with student loan debt.

By modifying financial behaviors and building literacy, the program empowers its beneficiaries, known as “prosperettes,” to break free from the shackles of debt and build long-term wealth.

The predatory lending crisis in higher education has its roots in unchecked tuition hikes and the privatization of student loans.

In 2004, lenders successfully pressured Congress to make student debt non-dischargeable through bankruptcy, ensuring that they would be paid back, even if it meant garnished wages or lawsuits against borrowers.

The system, as Taylor points out, is predicated on exploiting the dreams and lack of financial knowledge of students and their families.

The more awareness and education provided, the better-equipped individuals will be to navigate the complex world of student loans and make informed decisions.

Addressing the student debt crisis and closing the generational wealth gap for Black women requires a multifaceted approach.

It involves providing debt relief, financial education, and career support, as well as addressing the systemic issues within the higher education system that perpetuate inequalities and predatory lending practices.

Learn how you can help by supporting The Prosp(a)rity Project.

Watch the full conversation >>

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