Public-interest groups are calling on Education Dept. to track racial disparities in student lending

A coalition of 40 civil rights, legal-aid and public-interest groups is urging the Education Department to track and monitor the effect of student loans on people of color, who are shouldering the burden of education debt.
News Story (NATIONAL)

Danielle Douglas-Gabriel
Washington Post
September 15, 2016

Tags: Minorities: Racial/Ethnic, Student Debt

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)


Education officials do not collect information on the race or ethnicity of borrowers. Racial disparities in who borrows and struggles with student loans have been documented through the use of surveys conducted every few years by the Federal Reserve or the Census Bureau. Although that information has helped economists, academics and analysts create a framework for discussion, many say the department has a role to play in identifying and addressing inequalities in student lending.

“Student loans should be a tool to level the playing field and eliminate some of the disparities in educational outcomes,” said Persis Yu, director of the student-loan, borrower-assistance project at the National Consumer Law Center, one of the groups involved in the coalition. “If we’re seeing a disparity in default rates, it’s worth asking the question of whether it’s doing that job adequately and whether the tools we use to collect are appropriate.”