The SBPC’s Civil Rights Project is working to expose the effects of student debt on communities of color and show how predatory practices in the market are exacerbating existing racial and economic disparities. Through innovative advocacy and the novel application of legal tools, the SBPC is working to address discrimination in the market and demonstrate how protecting borrowers is critical to advancing racial equity and economic justice.
Exposing the Disparate Effects of Student Debt
This report highlights trends and offers new analysis of recent research by economists and city officials exposes alarming racial disparities in student debt burdens and borrower distress across American cities.
Despite industry assurances that the private student loan market is free from borrower distress, a closer examination of outcomes suggests that certain subsets of borrowers disproportionately struggle with private student debt—namely, Black and Latino borrowers.
Combating Discriminatory Practices
With creditors dragging borrowers into court for debt they often do not owe and lacking the documents necessary to back up their claims, the report lays out how these companies are manipulating courts into garnishing borrowers’ wages for illegitimate debt. The analysis also shows that in Maryland, these lawsuits disproportionately target communities of color.
This report, from Relman Colfax attorneys Stephen Hayes and Andrea Lowe, calls for strengthening and deploying civil rights tools in order to combat predatory practices by for-profit schools.
Advancing Racial & Economic Justice
This paper, written for the Consumer Finance Law Quarterly Report by SBPC Civil Rights Counsel Katherine Welbeck, examines the racial disparities that exist in the student loan market.
In a letter to CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger, the SBPC and a wide range of civil rights organizations urge the CFPB to utilize its critical enforcement and supervision tools to protect borrowers from discrimination in the student loan industry.
In the News
Students of color are more likely to take on student debt and disproportionately struggle to pay it back at higher rates than their white counterparts, perpetuating a “vicious cycle” of economic inequality along racial lines, research released Monday suggests.
This scenario is at the heart of a report released Wednesday by the Student Borrower Protection Center examining how the use of education data in underwriting private student loans may exacerbate economic and racial inequality.