January 11, 2022 — Issue Brief

By the Center for Responsible Lending, Student Borrower Protection Center, and NCLC ‘s Student Loan Borrower Assistance

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, student loan borrowers struggled under the weight of more than $1.6 trillion in debt. One in four borrowers was in default or serious delinquency, and many more struggled to make student loan payments while covering basic needs. Because of decades of structural inequities and discrimination, student loans have burdened Black and Latino borrowers more than other groups, and now these borrowers are also among those disproportionately harmed by the COVID-19 crisis. Millions of lives were already stymied by student loan debt before the crisis; now, as borrowers struggle with COVID-19 and continuing economic uncertainty, they are bracing for financial disaster.