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Financial Literacy Guest Blogger Haitian American

Debt Crisis and Black Families

Written by Lawrence Gonzalez, LS Financial Literacy Blogger

On September 13, 2019, Black Entertainment Television (BET) brought to the forefront the most impactful conversation of this decade. Followed up by the controversial special Young Gifted and Broke presented by Angela Rye which originally aired on the following sunday. It seems like it was the right time and right atmosphere to get their dialogue started. Some Presidential candidates are calling for the full erasure of debt. Billionaires like Robert Smith are cancelling debts for graduating classes to the tune of millions.

396 Morehouse College graduates received emailed letters informing them of the amounts of their student loans that will be paid off. The collective payoff totaled $34 million. The payments will be made through the newly established Morehouse Student Success Program, a scholarship, loan debt, research and educational initiative established by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Doing the math, the average loan pay off came up to $85,000 per student. As Donna M. Owens wrote in the articles, “The Student Loan Debt Crisis is Hitting Black Families Hard”, the Jules family (seen in the photo) are struggling to keep up with payments.  Living in Austin, Texas, couple and their daughter are living the new American dream. One filled with housing debt, car payments, and student loans to the tune of over $1,000 monthly. Marian Jules, now 41 is a marketing strategist. She defaulted on $100,000 worth of student loans which lead to automatic garnishment of wages from her paychecks. Marcel Jules, now 33 also has a sizeable loan which went unmentioned. Going through loan forgiveness, he is closer to the finish line.

Americans have over up $1.6 Trillion in student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Board. By 2023, 40% of borrowers who entered school in 2003-2004 will have defaulted.

The average household debt in America as of 2017 stood at $17,000 in credit cards, $30,000 in auto loans, $51,000 in Student loans, and $182,000 in Home loans. A grand total equals $280,000. As of 2018, the debt decreased to $271,000. If you don’t believe the stats, start asking the person to the left and right of you.

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