Economy

States with the Most Student Debt

10. Indiana
> Average student debt: $27,500
> Pct. with student debt: 63% (tied-20th highest)
> Pct. adults with bachelor’s degrees: 23.0% (8th lowest)
> Median household income: $46,438 (20th lowest)

Just 23% of adults in Indiana had a college degree in 2011, one of the lowest rates among all states in the nation. And those who attended college often faced high levels of debt and poor job prospects. Last year, the unemployment rate in Indiana for ages 20 to 24 was 16.2%, one of the higher rates in the nation for that age group. And with a median earnings for an adult with a bachelor’s degree more than $4,000 lower than the national median, even graduates who found work were likely to be paid less compared to their peers nationally. Graduates from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology faced the highest amount of student debt in the state, owing an average of more than $42,000 last year.

9. New Jersey
> Average student debt: $27,610
> Pct. with student debt: 64% (tied for 15th highest)
> Pct. adults with bachelor’s degrees: 35.3% (6th highest)
> Median household income: $67,458 (3rd highest)

The average debt load of 2011 graduates in New Jersey was a whopping 68% higher than those who graduated in 2005, the highest increase among all states. Students attending Centenary College held the most debt at graduation in the state, owing an average of $40,588 to lenders. Seniors at other schools fared better. Only 24% of 2011 Princeton graduates owed money to lenders at graduation, with the average student owing just $5,330, despite total cost of attendance totaling $52,715 a year for the 2010-2011 academic year. The university replaced student loans with grants back in 2001, becoming the first university in the country to do so.

Also Read: America’s Best (and Worst) Educated States

8. Vermont
> Average student debt: $28,273
> Pct. with student debt: 63% (tied for 20th highest)
> Pct. adults with bachelor’s degrees: 35.4% (5th highest)
> Median household income: $52,776 (19th highest)

College graduates living in Vermont were among the lowest paid in the nation. In 2011, the median annual earnings for adults with bachelor’s degrees was just $37,995 — more than $10,000 below the national median for that group. The state is one of the nation’s most educated, with 35.4% of adults holding at least a bachelor’s degree, but it is also one of its most heavily indebted. The average student debt remained almost unchanged in the past year, while the percentage of graduates with student loans fell by three percentage points. Graduates of Green Mountain College faced especially high levels of debt as the average graduate from the class of 2011 owed more than $42,000, 39% of which was riskier, nonfederal debt.

7. Ohio
> Average student debt: $28,683
> Pct. with student debt: 68% (9th highest)
> Pct. adults with bachelor’s degrees: 24.7% (13th lowest)
> Median household income: $45,749 (16th lowest)

Between 2005 and 2011, the average college debt for Ohio students rose 49%, the eighth-highest rate of growth across the country. Students of Ashland University who graduated in 2011 had the most debt of all institutions, with 79% of students owing an average of $39,399. Of that debt, 45% was from private lenders. Some public college students packed on the debt, too. Four in five 2011 graduates of Bowling Green State University faced an average debt load of $33,083. Meanwhile, 58% of graduates of the state’s largest public institution, Ohio State University, had an average debt of $24,840.

6. Iowa
> Average student debt: $28,753
> Pct. with student debt: 72% (4th highest)
> Pct. adults with bachelor’s degrees: 25.8% (18th lowest)
> Median household income: $49,427 (24th highest

Last year, 72% of the graduates from Iowa colleges and universities had student debt. Unfortunately for graduates of Iowa schools, the state does not pay adults with a college degree very well. An adult with a bachelor’s degree earned a median of $42,380 in 2011, or nearly $6,000 less than the national median. On the bright side, the unemployment rate among the 20- to 24-year-olds in Iowa was just 11.4%, one of the lower rates in the United States. According to the office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education, students in Iowa had a default rate of 11.6% on their student loans through fiscal 2010 — the most recently available year for data. This was the fourth-highest default rate in the nation.

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