Americans collectively hold almost 1.5 trillion in student debt, but some students are shouldering more of the burden than others. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women hold roughly two-thirds of all student debt in the nation.
A recent report from student loan refinancing company Laurel Road suggests that a major reason for this disparity is because women are less likely to understand how student debt works. In a survey of 1,000 college-educated adults, Laurel Road found that "Millennial women (35 percent) are more than three times as likely as their male peers (11 percent) to not have completely understood their financing options when applying to college."
But crediting the student debt gap to lack of understanding is an oversimplification — in many ways women are being placed in an impossible situation. Here are four reasons women hold more student debt: