According to Federal Reserve Data, student loan debt reached $1.52 trillion in March of 2018. Women hold approximately $900 billion of that total.
Why do women hold more in student loan balances? A recently updated report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) suggests that several reasons combine to shift the student loan burden toward women.
The most obvious reason – more women are attending college than men. AAUW notes that as of the fall 2016 semester, 56% of college enrollees were female, and the National Student Clearinghouse shows 57.3% female enrollment for 2017 – continuing the recent trend.
Women are also more likely to take on debt, according to AAUW’s analysis of government statistics. Using data from the 2015-2016 academic year, AAUW found that 41% of female undergraduates took on new student loan debt while only 35% of male undergraduates did so. The difference generally held over degree types, institution types, and degr…