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Why Does the Average LGBTQ Student Carry More Debt Than Their Straight Peers?

Young college women at computer

(Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash)

Debt management and financial stability is an important topic for all students. However, it seems to be an even more pressing issue for the LGBTQ community, as a 2018 survey of more than 11,000 students in the US revealed that the average LGBTQ student has about $16,000 more debt than the average straight student.

These interesting findings led to a thorough journalistic investigation into the matter to ascertain the cause of such a financial disparity. Are these students doing something wrong, or is society treating them differently, thereby making it harder for them to earn enough money to pay off their loans?

Below we’ll look at some of the main conclusions that researchers have come to regarding the reasoning behind why LGBTQ students tend to be more indebted than the average straight student.

Marginalization Makes Student Loans Riskier

Surveys show that LGBTQ students regret taking out student loans 15% more than their heterosexual and cisgender classmates. While only about 13% of male-identifying students found their debt to be unmanageable, that figure more than doubles to 28% for LGBTQ and female-identifying students.

Are men just better at managing their debts (not likely). Or, is the marginalization of women and LGBTQ students causing them to face additional barriers that make finding a job and making debt repayments more difficult?

This data could suggest that the still widespread discrimination against the LGBTQ community is partially responsible for making student loans a riskier proposition. For this reason, many students in this group wind up resorting to smaller, short-term borrowing options later on, such as no credit check payday loans (click here to learn more about that).

Lack of Family Support is Another Factor

According to the Point Foundation, a scholarship provider that offers grants to the LGBTQ community, more than 40% of their LGBTQ applicants report that they’ve been delaying their educational pursuit due to lack of familiar support and funding.

A survey conducted in 2013 by Pew Research Centre found that almost 50% of LGBTQ graduates stated they were rejected by a close friend or family member due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Such rejection often leads to the withdrawal of any financial or emotional support.

These figures show that a substantial amount of LGBTQ students are facing barriers to education that are not normally encountered by their straight peers.

Employer Discrimination Plays a Major Role

The unemployment rate for LGBTQ graduates is higher than that of their straight peers. Not only is it harder for LGBTQ workers to get hired in general, it’s also harder for them to land higher-paying positions that are in line with their degree specialisation.

Studies have also shown that being part of another marginalised group in addition to identifying as LGBTQ (such as a minority or immigrant) will increase the difficulty of getting a job even further.

Oftentimes, LGBTQ graduates will wind up settling for lower-paying jobs due to these unjust employment barriers. Hopefully, with this increased awareness about these facts in the corporate environment, companies will continue to take steps to eliminate such discriminatory hiring practices.