The Corner


What to Do About the ‘Gender Gap in Student Loans’?

Leftists like to wring their hands over “gaps” of all sorts. Since human beings are never going to be equal in all respects, the supposed need to eliminate group inequalities ensures an endless stream of problems for them to solve — invariably with government.

Lately, one of the gaps that leftists have focused on is the apparent gender gap in student loan debt.  It seems that, on average, women have higher debts than men do. Something must be done!

In today’s Martin Center piece, Toni Airaksinen, who writes most often for Campus Reform, explains that instead of waiting for government to ride to the rescue, women who want to minimize their college debt levels should take several steps.

First, don’t assume that public colleges and universities are necessarily less expensive. Ms. Airaksinen is a resident of Ohio and could have attended Ohio State, but instead she chose Barnard. You might think that the private school would have cost her a lot more, but, she reports, it was actually less.

Second, work to earn money so you won’t have to borrow as much. Yes, that will cut into the amount of time you can devote to volunteer Social Justice Warrior stuff, but you’ve got to choose.

Third, spend cautiously. Apparently there is some evidence that women students are more apt to spend money on things that aren’t necessary than men are. Watch your spending and you won’t need to borrow as much.

Airaksinen concludes, “The typical female student won’t be able to outrun loans entirely. But if she is judicious while in school, her total loan burden won’t have to be more than those of her male classmates—and could even be less.”

Men should also follow the same advice to limit their need to borrow. In any event, let’s stop obsessing over this “gap” and encourage every student to take responsibility for his or her actions.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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