It’s been over three years since the CARES Act halted federal student loan payments as the Covid-19 pandemic catapulted many borrowers into financial uncertainty. For the first time, those payments seem certain to resume in the coming months. Some demographics will feel it more than others. To be clear, federal student loan payments have been slated to resume a host of times before: former President Donald Trump extended the payment halt twice, and President Joe Biden followed suit, extending it six times.
But that’s not an option anymore, after Congress passed their bipartisan debt ceiling deal, which bars Biden from extending the pause again. The bill ends the ongoing pause on monthly payments and interest 60 days after June 30, which is Aug. 29. That date might loom more ominously for the group most burdened by student debt: Black women. In general, women are disproportionately affected, holding nearly two thirds of the country’s outstanding student debt. But Black women face even starker disparities. On average, women graduate owing almost $22,000 in student debt, while that number for men is $18,880. Black women graduate with an average of $37,558 in debt.