(Updated 9/20/2014) Fifty percent of Blacks graduate from college with more than $25,000 in student loan debt, according to new research from Gallup, a figure significantly higher than the percentage of Whites with similar debt after their undergraduate careers, and one that has an outsized impact on the well-being of those who take out the loans.

The study, conducted by Gallup in conjunction with Purdue University, examined the level of student debt related only to undergraduate studies for persons who graduated between 2000 and 2014. In all, 22 percent of Black students graduated with no debt, 28 percent graduated with up to $25,000 in undergraduate loans, and 50 percent earned their degree with more than $25,000 in debt.

In contrast, 39 percent of White students graduated debt-free, while 34 percent graduated with more than $25,000 in debt.


Another study by Gallup, released in August, found that persons who graduated from college with $25,000 or more in student debt were far less likely to view themselves as thriving in five areas of well-being, including financially and physically. That study found that only 26 percent of students who graduated with between $25,000 and $50,000 in debt, considered themselves to be thriving financially. For those who graduated with over $50,000 in debt, that figure was 25 percent.

Similarly, of those who graduated with between $25,000 and $50,000 in debt, only 26 percent saw themselves as thriving physically. For those with over $50,000 in debt, only 24 percent saw themselves as thriving.

Roberto Alejandro

Special to the AFRO