Women carry about two-thirds of the $1.7 trillion of federal student debt, with Black women more than twice as likely as white men to owe more than $50,000 in undergraduate student loan debt. The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated the financially unstable positions of many women, according to a new report from the Center for Responsible Lending.

The report analyzes the changes in women’s finances over the course of the past two years and what implications these changes have had on women’s long-term financial well-being and their ability to repay outstanding education debt. Among the key findings:

  • Due to increased childcare responsibilities, as well as the high-contact, low-wage nature of many women’s occupations, women of color and women in jobs that could not go remote have less job security today than pre-pandemic.
  • The economic gains made through 2021 were not shared equally across racial groups. Women of color continue to experience financial hardship paying for necessities.
  • Student loan debt burdens remain at staggering levels, despite the payment pause. Black women and Latina borrowers typically have higher student loan balances than white women, making repayment more difficult.