Americans owe a whopping $1.75 trillion in student debt and counting. The disparities in student debt and student loan repayment hit Black students the hardest. These students know that a college degree is the surest path to stronger employment opportunities, a shot at a brighter future and the American dream, but they are often forced to take on more debt to pay for a higher education, due to lack of familial wealth and well-documented economic opportunity gaps. Black students — particularly Black women — often graduate with a mountain of student debt, growing interest, and limited job opportunities. And Black women with a bachelor’s degree still earn about the same as a White man with a high school diploma.

The racial wealth gap makes it hard for Black people to repay student loan debt. In 2019, the median Black household wealth was a mere $24,100 compared to $188,200 for a White household. For single Black women, the statistics are particularly dire.

What’s more, financial health and mental health are intrinsically linked. As a recent Ed Trust release shows, the stress of carrying a heavy student debt burden is taking a serious toll on the mental health of many Black borrowers, and that should be cause for alarm.

Fortunately, the rallying cry for student loan debt relief isn’t only being led by advocacy organizations, but also by elected leaders like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Reps. Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and various Congressional Black Caucus members, to name a few. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has signaled its support for another extension of the student loan repayment pause and a plan that would provide $10,000 in relief per borrower. For thousands of Black borrowers, however, that’s simply not enough.

Please join The Education Trust, Black Girls Vote, Higher Heights, and the National Alliance for Mental Illness for a conversation on how student loan debt impacts Black women.

Follow the conversation online via #BlackStudentDebt and @EdTrust, @Blackgirlsvote @HigherHeights, and @NamiCommunicate.


Wednesday, August 3
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm EST


  • Denise Forte, Interim CEO, The Education Trust
  • Natasha Murphy, Chief of Staff, Black Girls Vote
  • Lakeila RStemmons, National Director, Higher Heights
  • Dawn Brown, Director of Cross-Cultural Innovation and Engagement Task Force, NAMI
  • Dr. Shamell Bell, Debt Collective, Lecturer, Harvard University

*** With remarks from U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman