This article was published on November 13th, 2018
As if it wasn’t already at times difficult to be out in the queer community, a new study regarding student loans for LGBT people has recently been released and the results are staggering. Are LGBT students already at a disadvantage? Student Loan Hero conducted a survey that found LGBT students loans to pay for their post secondary education are higher than their straight counterparts.
The average LGBT student has $112,000 or more in student loan debt, which is nearly $16,000 more than their straight counterparts. As a result, 13% of queer men and 28% of queer women find their student loan debt to be completely unmanageable. In this weakened economy, students find their debt to be exasperated by a lack of employment opportunities following college graduation.
A vast majority of queer borrowers, 60%, say they actually regret their student loan debt versus 45% of heterosexual student loan debtors feel this way. Many participants that were survey wish they had chosen a trade school, community college, or some alternative versus embedding themselves with unimaginably high student loans and rates.
Other very interesting facts were revealed as a result of the survey. Apparently, the lgbt community is far less prepared than their straight counterparts for retirement and having savings plans. This is made even more difficult for LGBT borrowers who are likely to mAke $50,000 less than the rest of the general population. It’s proving harder and harder for queer students to save considering they make far less money. Over 47% of lgbt student loan borrowers don’t have retirement plans.Thanks to Trump-era rescinding of Obama-era protections for LGBT federal employees, queer people also have to worry about being fired just for being gay in more than 20 states in America. 1 in four queer respondents reported to having experienced work place discrimination.
Even more startling is the fact that almost 33% of queer respondents to the survey admitted to being denied financial help for secondary education, stating their gender or sexual orientation as a main factor for being denied financial aid. With only 39% of queer respondents saying they feel accepted by their families, it is becoming increasingly harder for lgbt borrowers to even afford college in the first place. Queer students typically cannot depend on their families for financial support after high school, the study also finds.
While the situations look bleak for gay students looking to advance their lives, there are organizations out there to help alleviate the financial burden of higher education. Millions of dollars annually get left unspent and thousands of scholarships are unawarded because students don’t realize them. Do your research. Groups like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, among countless other queer advocacy groups, have annual scholarships. There are countless avenues to advance your life that don’t require being in debt for your entire life. But heed the warning from the survey and be smart about wanting to go to college. Don’t bite off more than you can financially chew.