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Let's Talk About Debt, Baby: A Workshop for College Counselors

Since the start of my career eight years ago, I have always made it a habit to have that difficult conversation about student and parent loan debt. I have talked students/families out of bad deals from schools that any counselor would love to have on their resume. For me, going to a "dream school" isn't worth the crushing debt, especially with today's starting salaries for Black and Brown students. I always want my students to have a life where they grow and build a family if they choose to. Over these eight years, I refined my debt conversations with students/families as new resources came out. In this workshop, counselors will learn how to communicate with students and families about college debt before students apply and when they get their financial aid packages/award letters.

See the slides with clickable links to resources.'s "Student Loan Debt by Race."

Here is Parent Plus Loan data by school.

A high school counselor named Brittanie Davis attended the session and shared how she shows her students her debt:

She also shared a breakdown by year.

UNCF reports: "Students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) borrow student loans at higher rates and, consequently, graduate with substantially higher debt than their peers at non-HBCUs—even though HBCUs cost less"

It's worth paying attention to the colleges that get big funding and see how they use it.

There are HBCUs that give great aid. Students, families and counselors need to be willing to look beyond the big name HBCUs.

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