Graduates are feeling the pressure of debt | Photo: Unsplash/Andre Hunter
A new study reveals the specific difficulties LGBTI students face when it comes to school debt.
Student loan debt is a crisis in the United States — and an issue many presidential candidates are addressing on the campaign trail. Overall, student loan debt totals $1.47 trillion, which is more than both car and credit debt. From 2007 to 2017, student loan borrowers have increased in every age range.
For LGBTI students, the burden is also tremendous. They also face barriers other students may not face, such as aid discrimination.
Student Loan Hero released its second annual report about LGBTI students and school debt.
It reveals startingly statistics, like 3 in 10 (29%) find their loans ‘not at all’ manageable.
In the survey, Student Loan Hero discovered 4 in 10 LGBTI students said they were denied financial aid for their loans due to their sexual orientation.
Another 14% said this discrimination happened on multiple occasions.
‘Reaching out for financial help is hard enough. Throw in discrimination and homophobia, and it can be downright miserable,’ said David Rae, the founder of a Los Angeles-based wealth management firm. ‘Look for resources specifically tailored for the LGBT community. I’m not alone as an out and proud financial planner.’
Brian Thompson, a financial planner from Chicago, reiterated the advice of looking for different types of financial aid sources.
‘My advice is to look for non-traditional places. We’re out there and eager to help,’ he said.
The survey also found a possible correlation between lack of familial support and an increase in debt stress.
38% who said they are not accepted at home also reported finding their debt unmanageable, compared to 26% who say they are accepted at home. They’re also more likely to say they are not on track for a supported retirement (62% compared to 45%).
John Schneider, co-host of the Queer Money podcast, commented: ‘Knowing that people will have your back, or possibly provide financial support if things get hairy, helps keep us in a healthy mental state.
‘In addition, those that have familial support are more likely to also have financial support when they leave the home, compared to those that are leaving because their home is not a welcoming place.’
A bleak future for LGBTI students
87% of respondents said debt from school have prevented them from reaching various financial milestones.
More specifically, 27% said they haven’t been able to move out into their own home, 19% said they haven’t been able to start a family, and more.
One respondent stated unequivocally they ‘can’t save’.
‘I contribute a small amount to a 401(k), but it’s not significant enough for retirement — yet [it’s] all I can barely afford,’ they said.