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In a difficult economy, both men and women in Kansas fight for survival. For new graduates, the struggle can be particularly difficult when trying to land their first job and pay off student loans. Since it is often the case that women make less than men in the workplace, the struggle to pay of student loans and other debt can become even more burdensome for women.

A recent study conducted by the American Association of University Women found that nearly 50 percent of women working full time and just under 40 percent of men who had graduated the year before devoted 8 percent of their income to debt repayment. The study found that in 2009, college-educated women made 82 percent less than their male counterparts just one year after graduation. After adjusting for factors such as college majors, occupation and average hours worked, a gap in income still remained.

The results indicate that it is more difficult for female graduates to get out of debt. Though the income gap continues to get smaller each decade, the income gap between men and women is the smallest during the early post-graduate years. Having a large amount of debt restricts spending in other areas. High debt delays home purchase and the ability to save for retirement.

There is hope for both new graduates and not-so-new graduates. For some, filing for bankruptcy is a way to get debt under control. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may offer a fresh financial start for Kansas graduates who are unable to keep up with credit card payments and other personal debts. Although this is not applicable to student debt, if additional debt has accumulated over the years, filing for bankruptcy could provide an opportunity to get back on course.

Seeking advice and guidance could benefit those unsure about the process or are unclear whether filing for bankruptcy is for them. It is important to understand how it could affect them currently and in the future. Choosing their best option will ensure their rights and interests are also protected.

Source: NPR, “Student Debt Weighs Down Women More. Blame The Wage Gap,” Jessica Glazer, April 6, 2014.