Is the high cost of women’s education worth it?
More women are going to colleges and universities than ever before. Since the 1980s women have surpassed men in college attendance. Forbes recently reported that, on a national scale, the ratio of men to women attending universities is around 43.6–56.4.
Naturally, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of women taking student loans. According to a Ohio State University study, female students are more likely to take out student loans than men. As women graduate, they are doing so with massive amounts of student debt. This is a matter of concern because we live in a time when student loans are outpacing inflation, and college expenses are significantly higher than only a decade ago.
These debts and challenges leave an impact on other high priority matters in person life. Debts can affect entrepreneurship possibilities, career, marriage, children, family and retirement. Briana Fabbri, a personal finance advisor, writes that the more student debt women have, the less likely they are to get married.
These financial issues put women in an undesirable position, making it hard to own a home or afford kids. After a lifetime effort in paying back student loans, it’s difficult to save money for emergencies, lifestyle improvements, savings, or to even get into a financially stable position.
A large number of women are now also first-generation college students. Students who are first-generation college attendees often come from low-income families. This makes it even more likely that they will opt for a student loan. In many cases these women also have personal difficulties in continuing their education. Many drop out or go back to full-time work before completing their course of study.
If they do graduate, women are still making, on average, less money than men with the same qualifications and expertise. The gender wage gap is the smallest on record, but women are still earning 21 percent less than men. That pay gap only widens for black women, who make, on average, only about 63 percent of what non-Hispanic white men are paid.
Since loan figures are the same for male and female students going for the same course at the same college, women end up paying a larger percentage of their income to pay off student loans. This creates an unequal situation, at the very beginning of new graduates’ careers, which gives men more independence and financial security. This also means that men are much more likely to take chances with their careers, save for the future, pay off their loans faster, and improve their lifestyles. Women are forced to sacrifice and put more energy into paying off their student debt. The pay gap doesn’t allow them the same stability that can facilitate bigger decisions toward a safer and better life.
Enrolling in a college or university should be an enriching experience meant to elevate our knowledge and living standard by making us more qualified for better paying jobs. If you are planning to enroll for bachelors or post graduate degree, or if you’ve already graduated with student debt, research your remaining options.
1) Look into government programs like the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness which rewards a selfless decade of work in the public and non-profit sector.
2) If you must follow your passions choose a course which pays relatively better, an in-demand field with a bright outlook, or a field where graduates have more career options to choose from.
3) Go into STEM fields and apply for cost-covering scholarships.
Women need to be aware of their options for paying down their student debt. Faced with a nearly crippling disadvantage we simply can’t afford to make mistakes, or not research our debt repayment options even before we graduate. The more we self-educate, and spread the knowledge to other women in our circles, the faster we can move ahead and level the playing field once and for all!
“Zyana Morris is a passionate blogger who loves to write on trending health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a featured author at Healthable, Uplifting Families, Inscriber Mag, Hello Mamas and few others. Her favorite quote “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop”. You can follow her through Facebook and Twitter.”