Warren wants to give billions to historically black colleges. They typically have among the lowest loan repayments

Luke Rosiak, DCNF

  • Of the 100 colleges whose students most frequently fail to repay their student loans, most are historically black colleges and universities, according to federal data.
  • Most graduates of black colleges owe more in student loans 12 years after college than they did after graduation, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who wants the government to give $50 billion to HBCUs.
  • She said their poor results are a result of racism by future employers, but did not say how more funding for the universities will help that.

The majority of historically black colleges’ graduates haven’t paid a single dollar of their student loan balance in the first several years of leaving school, federal data shows.

Image: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Flickr

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s college plan reserves $50 billion for minority-serving schools.

The majority of the 100 schools with the worst rate of three-year student loan repayment are historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), but only 5 percent of schools are HBCUs, The Wall Street Journal reported April 17.

Warren — a former Harvard Law School professor — proposed setting aside $50 billion for HBCUs and minority-serving institutions April 22. The HBCU proposal is part of Warren’s broader plan to have the government forgive existing student loans and pay for tuition moving forward.

“Because of factors like the size of these loans and discrimination in employment opportunities, black students who finished a bachelor’s degree on average owed more than their original student loan balance after 12 years,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote.

Warren’s presidential campaign did not answer a question from The Daily Caller News Foundation on how spending more money on HBCUs would benefit graduates’ employment.

A higher-education adviser to former President Barack Obama, Zakiya Smith Ellis, told WSJ “it was probably the most shocking data of my career … We like to think of bachelor degrees at the Holy Grail.”

Over a 12-year period, black students who attend historically black colleges are more likely to default on student loans than black students who attend other public or nonprofit colleges, WSJ found, citing federal data. Student loans are guaranteed by the government, so taxpayers usually foot the bill when they do not pay.

WSJ did not include a ranking of the schools, but a DCNF analysis of the data identified the 30 colleges with the worst repayments, with historically black schools bolded:

Source: Department of Education College Scorecard data/ Via: DCNF

At Bowie State University, for example, only 31 percent of former students are repaying their debt, even though the school’s typical loan repayment is $255 a month and costs $14,800 per year, data show. The average salary after attending is $48,000.

WSJ noted that students who attend a historically black college leave with “disproportionately high loans compared with their peers at other schools”

Paul Quinn College in Dallas has one of the lowest loan repayment rates in the country at only 21 percent. Its administrators said it is now requiring students to work part-time.

At an Alabama school, Miles College, administrators said some students were borrowing significant amounts for non-tuition expenses, and limits were imposed. It also shifted its focus toward majors leading to higher-paying jobs.

Low or nonexistent standards for admission are another factor WSJ identified. A quarter of HBCUs are open-enrollment, which accept people with poor high school records who are less likely to find gainful employment even if they have attended college classes.

Email Luke at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter.

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