A recent survey found that 44 percent of student loan borrowers at historically Black colleges and universities and 29 percent of Black borrowers at predominantly white institutions reported skipping meals to cut costs.
The survey of 1,900 current and former students was released last week by the United Negro College Fund, the Center for Responsible Lending and the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It examines the effects of student loan debt on HBCU students and graduates and Black students and graduates at other types of institutions.
Two-thirds of Black student borrowers used the federal Pell Grant to help them pay for their higher education, according to the survey. More than a third of Black borrowers received financial help from their families, and more than a fourth had parents who took out Parent PLUS loans, federal loans available to the parents of undergraduates, to help students afford college. At the same time, 30 percent of HBCU students reported providing financial support for family while in college.
Black women were more likely than Black men to lack financial support from family. About 15 percent of Black men reported receiving no financial help from family, while about 35 percent of Black women reported receiving no family financial assistance.
The survey also found 85 percent of Black respondents are in favor of forgiving $50,000 in student loan debt across the board per student borrower.
North Carolina representative Alma Adams, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, responded to the survey during a Facebook Live event Tuesday, Yahoo News reported. She said the underfunding of HBCUs relative to predominantly white institutions contributes to the heavy student loan debt burdens held by Black students.
“The history of HBCUs is one of triumph over adversity,” Adams said. “Our institutions have had to overcome historic underfunding compared to PWIs, and they’ve endured the legacy of Jim Crow.”