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Sep 20, 2022 3:46:04 PM

Sarah Mason

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Student Debt is an LGBTQ Issue

Sep 20, 2022 3:46:04 PM
Sarah Mason

Point Foundation stands by the need for continued student debt relief efforts to relieve LGBTQ and diverse student communities from the crushing debt they take on. Student debt is a crisis of the LGBTQ community. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer students everywhere disproportionately face greater debt than our straight, cisgender peers. When those students are also in BIPOC communities, the rate of debt is even higher.

Student Debt Relief (1)

Today’s announcement by President Biden and his administration to forgive $10,000-$20,000 of college loan debt, specifically for students who earn less than $125,000 annually, is greatly appreciated as a step in the right direction to decrease the staggering debt students shoulder. But today’s solution is not the end to our fight against the student debt crisis; this effort represents a fraction of the debt the LGBTQ student population owes.

An average American student takes on $32,700 in student loans. Point research, in collaboration with the Williams Institute, shows that the majority of LGBTQ students (82%) owe less than $50,000, while 16% owe $50,000 or more. Transgender students are twice as likely to take on student loans than their cisgender peers: More than half of American transgender students (51%) take on student loans, compared to 25.4% of cisgender students. Student debt becomes significantly more burdensome for BIPOC students. For example, Black students graduate with $25,000 more debt than their White classmates.

In our role as the largest LGBTQ foundation in the United States, Point sees first-hand the impact debt and financial support can make in the lives of college students, especially BIPOC students, who represent more than 70% of our student body. It is our belief at Point that any student debt alleviation efforts must center on communities of color and LGBTQ students. For many LGBTQ students, college represents a refuge from unaccepting families and unwelcoming communities. These college communities are not tenable solutions for LGBTQ students if students cannot afford to graduate or find themselves under crushing debt after they complete their academic endeavors.

Point urges LGBTQ voters and allies across the nation to continue to push for student debt relief solutions that focus on the very real challenges our community faces. The bottom line is that college attainment continues to be a key to equity in our society. LGBTQ people need the skills and credentials earned in places of higher learning to increase our representation in every industry. Without equitable access to success in higher education, especially financial support, the fight for LGBTQ equality will be another dream deferred.

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