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Student Debt Makes College More Expensive for Women

College loans haunt women for years longer than men, a new study shows.
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Photographer: Linda Goodhue Photography/Getty Images/Flickr RF

Student debt haunts women for years longer than it stays with men, research suggests. A report from the American Association of University Women shows that women take longer to pay off their education loans, which imposes a heavier burden on their finances years after they graduate. Black and Hispanic women in particular earn much less than other groups over time, and end up struggling the most to get rid of the debt that financed their college educations.

In the past two decades, young women have vaulted past men in American higher education, by some metrics. They have become more likely to enroll in college than men, earned higher grades, and finished school more frequently than male peers. Still, highly educated women continue to earn less over time, and that stubborn pay gap becomes an even heavier burden for people who leave school with thousands of dollars in unpaid loans, the AAUW report, released on Monday, shows.