How Much Student Loan Debt Does the Average Woman Have? See How You Compare

How Much Student Loan Debt Does the Average Woman Have? See How You Compare
How Much Student Loan Debt Does the Average Woman Have? See How You Compare

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One of the hardest financial holes to dig yourself out of is student debt. After going to college and earning a degree, you might think that you are equipped with all the tools necessary to pay back your education, particularly if you have taken on a large amount of loans to pay for it. This playing field might seem even when compared between men and women, but it might come as a surprise that women take on a different amount of student loan debt to pay for their educations.

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“In 2024, women in the United States had an extremely high level of student loan debt,” mentioned Ethan Keller, the president of Dominion. “They held nearly two-thirds of the country’s $1.54 trillion student debt, equaling $929 billion. The average student loan debt for women earning a bachelor’s degree is approximately $2,700 more than their male counterparts.”

Yet not all women are in the same position when it comes to going in the red to pay for college. GOBankingRates conducted an independent survey and found that within the results:

  • 14% of women reported having under $10,000 worth of student debt.

  • 10% of women surveyed said they had between $10,001 and $30,000 to pay back.

  • 5% of women in the study were carrying $30,001 to $50,000 of loans.

  • 5% of women reported having between $50,001 and $70,000 of education debt.

  • 2% of women in the survey shared they had anywhere from $70,001 to $100,000 worth of student loans.

  • 2% of women who participated noted they had over $100,001 in student loan debt.

Here’s a closer look at why women are burdened with this debt and what they can do to get free.

Why Women Take On More Student Loan Debt

Keller believes the reason women take on so much debt is due to a gender pay gap, which can work conversely when it comes to the dollar figure for borrowing money. So while women, on the whole, might make less compared to men, they can get deeper into debt as well.

“Lack of access to opportunities like mentorship, promotions and raises for men is a common cause of the gender pay gap,” Keller said. “Also, women are often more likely to take time off to care for children or other family members, contributing to lower earnings.”

On average, American women have roughly $32,000 in student loan debt upon graduation, according to David Bakke, personal finance expert at DollarSanity, basing his findings on data culled from various websites, including The American Association Of University Women.

Plus, Bakke highlighted that it takes women a longer time to repay student loans.

“On average, women take two years to pay off student loans which is longer than other demographics,” Bakke pointed out.

Keller confirmed this: “Women experience a persistent gender pay gap after college, leading to lower earnings compared to their male counterparts. Due to this income gap, female students have a harder time repaying their student debt, further increasing their financial burden.”

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The Path To Being Debt-Free

One interesting finding from our GOBankingRates survey was that the largest percentage documented was 63% That was how many women reported not having any student debt whatsoever.

To many female-identifying students about to take out loans to pay for college or who are about to start repaying their loans after completing their degree, this sounds like a dream come true, perhaps an impossible one. Is it?

“First off, borrowers need to make a budget that makes paying those loans a top priority each month,” recommended Lyle Solomon, the principal attorney at Oak View Law Group.

“That might mean cutting spending in other areas to free up cash for loan payments. Another option is looking into income-based repayment plans that calculate affordable payments based on your actual income and family situation,” Solomon added. “These plans can provide major relief, especially if your income isn’t very high.”

“I also recommend looking into loan forgiveness programs, which are great options if you work for the government or a nonprofit,” Solomon continued, pointing to the example of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, “which wipes away remaining debt after 10 years of on-time payments if you work full-time for a qualifying public service employer.”

If not that, Solomon suggested students refinance their existing loans to get a lower interest rate. This can add some relief to help make the monthly payments more manageable.

“Refinancing can also be a game-changer if you have a strong credit score,” agreed Rhett Stubbendeck, the founder of Leverage, who offered this as advice to secure lower interest rates without losing valuable federal loan protections.

“Lastly, using unexpected cash, like tax refunds or bonuses, to pay down student loans is a personal favorite strategy of mine,” Stubbendeck shared. “It’s an effective way to cut down on interest and reduce the loan balance quicker.”

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This article originally appeared on How Much Student Loan Debt Does the Average Woman Have? See How You Compare