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How America’s student-debt crisis impacts black borrowers

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People across the country are sacrificing gas and healthcare to pay off the record $1.5 trillion student loan debt— and black borrowers in particular are hurting the most.

Black students are not only more likely to need to take on debt for school, graduates are also nearly five times as likely to default on their loans than their white peers.

Read more: 10 mind-blowing facts that show just how dire the student-loan crisis in America is

The racial gap between black and white student borrowers has prompted presidential hopefuls to address the issue. Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris proposed a plan to wipe out debt for minority entrepreneurs. Specifically, Pell Grant recipients who start a business that operate for at least three years in disadvantaged communities would have debts forgiven, as part of a larger initiative to close the racial wealth gap.

She faced backlash, however, due to the many conditions a borrower would need to fulfill before they could qualify. Harris’ debt elimination scope is much narrower compared to Elizabeth Warren’s, whose initiative would wipe all student debt for 75% of US borrowers. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, would eliminate all such debt.

Here are eight mind-blowing statistics about the student-debt crisis’ impact on black borrowers as compared to white students. (The majority of data sources compared black- and white-borrower debt, which is why other racial groups were not mentioned directly.)

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