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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspapers
Published: 17 May 2010

(NNPA) - Across the U.S., another group of Black students have earned their college degrees this month, and have progressed to the next stage in their lives. But they do so carrying the burden of greater debt than their White peers, according to a new study conducted by The College Board's Advocacy and Policy Center.
The study revealed that 27 percent of Black bachelor's degree recipients in 2007-2008 borrowed $30,500 or more compared to 16 percent of Whites, 14 percent of Latinos/Hispanics and 9 percent of Asians.
Sandy Baum, the report's co-author, told BlackAmericaWeb.com that while the families of some Blacks and White students may have similar incomes from their jobs and other activities, there is an apparent gap in their other savings and assets, which can give White students an edge in paying for college and avoiding heavy debt.
Also, experts found that parents and students who take out private loans may find themselves in higher debt than those who take out federal loans, mainly because private loans often hold higher interest rates and there is no government protection to limit payment amounts.
"Some folks will sign the papers without looking at the fine print, and they end up with loans with high interest rates," Wil LaVeist, co-author of "8 Steps to Help Black Families Pay for College" told BlackAmericaWeb.com.
LaVeist urged parents and students to pay close attention to all documents when signing for college loans. But he said students can avoid the loan process and the possible burden of future debt altogether by getting good grades before entering college.
"I see too many kids focusing on being social [in high school]," LaVeist told BlackAmericaWeb.com. "What is important now is to get good grades in high school...There will be a college that will accept you …."

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