States (and Colleges) With the Highest Average Student Loan Debt

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U.S. student loan debt at the end of the second quarter of 2018 totaled $1.532 trillion, up by $8 billion from the total at the end of the first quarter. Only mortgage debt accounts for a greater share of total U.S. consumer debt. Student borrowers who graduated in 2017 did so with an average student loan debt of $28,288.

The state with the lowest average student loan debt for the class of 2017 was Utah, where debt per borrower was $18,425. The state with the highest total was Pennsylvania, where the average was $36,193, or nearly twice as much.

Nearly 58% of all 2017 graduates of four-year nonprofit public and private institutions graduated with student loan debt. Including students who did not take out student loans, the average debt for all graduates was $16,230, down slightly from the 2017 average of $16,723.

The data were reported Wednesday morning by student loan marketplace and refinancing website LendEDU in its third annual¬†state-by-state report on student loan debt. LendEDU obtains its data from a voluntary financial aid survey by Peterson’s that collects responses from 1,080 four-year public and private institutions. The firm then ranks institutions and states based on that data.

For 2017 graduates, nearly 82% of schools where students had the highest debt were private. About 56% of schools where graduates had the lowest levels of debt were public institutions.

Here are the 10 states where graduates with student loans had the lowest average debt. We’ve included the average amount of debt and the percentage of graduates who incurred debt during their student years.

  1. Utah: $18,425; 39%
  2. New Mexico: $21,805; 53%
  3. Nevada: $22,026; 49%
  4. California: $22,383; 50%
  5. Wyoming: $22,524; 47%
  6. Washington: $23,359; 52%
  7. Florida: $23,556; 50%
  8. Arizona: $23,913; 54%
  9. Hawaii: $24,955; 49%
  10. Tennessee: $25,054; 56%

Here’s the list of the 10 states where students graduate with the highest levels of student debt.

  1. Pennsylvania: $36,193; 67%
  2. Rhode Island: $35,371; 64%
  3. Delaware: $34,144; 62%
  4. New Hampshire: $33,462; 74%
  5. Alabama: $31,861; 50%
  6. Connecticut: $31,643; 58%
  7. New York: $31,506; 64%
  8. South Dakota: $31,332; 73%
  9. Massachusetts: $31,319; 59%
  10. Minnesota: $31,231; 68%

The report also ranks public and private institutions separately based on average debt per borrower. Here are the five public colleges where average debt among students who borrowed was lowest.

  1. Central Connecticut State University: $5,831
  2. The University of North Texas at Dallas: $6,927
  3. Pennsylvania College of Technology: $7,218
  4. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (A&M): $7,454
  5. Ramapo College of New Jersey: $10,082

Here are the five public colleges where the average debt among borrowers was highest.

  1. Grambling State University: $47,162
  2. Penn State Shenango: $45,746
  3. Penn State Hazleton: $45,703
  4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana: $42,399
  5. Penn State Harrisburg: $42,315

Here are the five private institutions where the average debt of students who borrowed was lowest.

  1. Bethel College: $5,633 per borrower
  2. University of the Incarnate Word: $6,271
  3. The College of Idaho: $7,202
  4. Berea College: $7,468
  5. Princeton University: $9,005

Here are the five private institutions where student borrowers graduated with the highest debt levels.

  1. The New School College of Performing Arts: $77,353 per borrower
  2. Parsons School of Design: $70,361
  3. New York School of Interior Design: $65,401
  4. Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts: $62,290
  5. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: $58,012