Women owe billions more than men on their student loans

Student loan debt broke the $1.5 trillion mark in the first quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve — and new data shows that for women especially, academic success comes with a price. Female graduates now have to contend with the burden of greater student loan debt in addition to the gender pay gap.

More from GoBankingRates:The best college in every state that costs less than $20,000 per year.

Although more women are enrolling in American colleges than men — 56 percent as of fall 2016, according to the American Association of University Women — they’re also leaving higher education with more debt. The average graduate debt was $28,400 in 2015-16, but that number doesn’t reflect the particular challenge for women. On average, women owe $2,740 more than men upon completing a bachelor’s degree, and they carry nearly two-thirds of the nation’s outstanding student loan debt.

RELATED: 10 universities where grads make highest starting salaries

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10 universities where grads make highest starting salaries

Georgia Institute of Technology

U.S. News rank: 34 (tie)

Median starting salary: $65,700

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $12,418 (in-state); $33,014 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (NY)

U.S. News rank: 42 (tie)

Median starting salary: $66,000

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $52,305

Learn more about Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Princeton University (NJ)

U.S. News rank: 1

Median starting salary: $66,700

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $47,140

Learn more about Princeton University.

 Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ)

U.S. News rank: 69 (tie)

Median starting salary: $67,000

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $50,554

Learn more about the Stevens Institute of Technology.

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (MA)

U.S. News rank: 61 (tie)

Median starting salary: $67,300

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $48,628

Learn more about Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Colorado School of Mines

U.S. News rank: 75 (tie)

Median starting salary: $68,000

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $18,386 (in-state); $37,436 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the Colorado School of Mines.

Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

U.S. News rank: 25 (tie)

Median starting salary: $69,700

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $53,910

Learn more about Carnegie Mellon University.

Stanford University (CA)

U.S. News rank: 5 (tie)

Median starting salary: $70,300

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $49,617

Learn more about Stanford University.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

U.S. News rank: 5 (tie)

Median starting salary: $76,900

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $49,892

Learn more about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

California Institute of Technology

U.S. News rank: 10

Median starting salary: $78,400

2017-2018 tuition and fees: $49,908

Learn more about the California Institute of Technology.

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More from GoBankingRates: 20 Companies That Help Employees Pay Off Student Loans

The deck appears stacked against women who are trying to get ahead of their finances. With female borrowers taking out the most student loans, women are already at a financial disadvantage upon entering the professional world, where they encounter the gender pay gap. As a result, women find less disposable income in their wallets and take longer to repay their student loans, further widening the economic gap between women and men.

More from GoBankingRates: Jobs Where Women Make More Than Men? There Aren’t Many

But there’s hope even in the face of mounting student debt. Over half of people who have ever attended college say the lifetime benefits of higher education exceed the costs, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Board.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Women Owe Billions More Than Men on Their Student Loans

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