Emotions run high in the land of student loan debt. It’s easy to spiral into despair when confronted with a high amount of student debt and little capacity to pay it. With 44 million borrowers it’s no surprise that so many have trouble paying them off. But what if I told you women are worse off than men in this regard?

Here are the facts, backed up by the American Association of University Women:

  • Women hold two thirds of the total student loan debt.
  • Women hold 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees.
  • Of the student population, 56 percent are women.
  • Women take on approximately 14 percent more student loans than men.
  • In 2014 women working full-time, year-round earned 79 percent of men’s earnings.

The wage gap is real, though many are turning a blind eye to it. In an attempt to close the gap more women are pursuing college degrees to get higher paying jobs. The way to do that in today’s economy is to take on student loans. They may be a welcome tool to allow women to catch up in the working world, but the wage gap still finds a way to punish women.

Why do women take on more student loan debt compared to men?

The same approximate number of women and men get supplemental jobs in college, but the wage gap comes into play here too. Women earn less than men in these jobs, meaning women need to take out more in loans to cover the gap.

In addition to borrowing more, women take longer to pay off student loans. This can be explained partly because they take out more loans but also because of the wage gap. They make lower payments than their male counterparts, taking more time to pay off the loans and thus paying more overall from the interest.