Special Report

States With the Most Student Debt

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Today’s graduating class will carry more debt than any other class in history. The average student loan debt at graduation rose from $18,550 in 2004 to $28,950 in 2014, a 56% increase, according to The Institute for College Access and Success. At the same time, the cost of tuition of a public four-year program at an in-state school rose 40% between 2005 to 2015 — less than the increase in loan debt.

According to the 10th annual “Student Debt and the Class of 2014,” published by The Institute for College Access and Success, the increase in student loan debts has varied considerably between states. Delaware’s average student loan debt increased by 129% in just 10 years, moving from seventh lowest in the nation in 2004 to the highest in 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed all states to determine which had the highest amount of average student loan debt in 2014. Delaware had the highest average student loan debt at $33,808, while Utah had the lowest at $18,921.

While the national average student loan debt at graduation $28,950, the cost over the full term of the loan is much higher. Current federal loan interest rates range from 4.29% to 6.84%. At 5.0%, the $28,950 debt has a final cost, not including any fees, of $36,847 over a 10-year term — increasing the full cost by 27%.

Click here to see the states with the most student debt.

States with higher median household incomes tend to also have a higher average student loan debt. Of the 10 states with the highest average student loan debts, seven have median household incomes above the national average. Still, some states with similar student loan debts can have significantly different income levels, which can dramatically change how big the relative debt burden is.

Massachusetts and Alabama have nearly identical average student loan debts, at $29,391 and $29,425, respectively. However, the typical household in Massachusetts with a 25-44 year old head of household is $77,266 — $30,724 greater than the typical household in Alabama. So while the student loan debt is equal to 63% of the median yearly household income for in Alabama, it is only equal to 38% in of the income Massachusetts.

Using data from the report, “Student Debt and the Class of 2014” published by The Institute for College Access and Success, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average student loan debt for new 2014 graduates in every state. TICAS also provided data on the average student loan debt in 2004. We also reviewed data on educational attainment and median household incomes from the U.S. Census Bureau. Median household income in all instances reflects households in which the head of household is a 25-44 years old. Interest rates Federal student loan interest rates are from Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education. North Dakota was excluded because there was not sufficient data available.

These are the states with the most and least student debt.

The University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Source: Thinkstock

49. Utah
> Avg. student loan debt:
$18,921
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $63,885 (17th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 29.6% (2nd lowest)
> College attainment rate: 31.1% (15th highest)

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Source: Thinkstock

48. New Mexico
> Avg. student loan debt:
$18,969
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $46,241 (2nd lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 41.0% (15th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 26.4% (13th lowest)

Reno, Nevada 2
Source: Thinkstock

47. Nevada
> Avg. student loan debt:
$20,211
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $53,772 (18th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 37.6% (10th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 23.1% (6th lowest)

Stanford, California
Source: Thinkstock

46. California
> Avg. student loan debt:
$21,382
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $65,279 (14th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 32.8% (3rd lowest)
> College attainment rate: 31.7% (13th highest)

ASU, Arizona
Source: Thinkstock

45. Arizona
> Avg. student loan debt:
$22,609
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $54,097 (20th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 41.8% (16th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 27.6% (20th lowest)

Street car, New Orleans, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

44. Louisiana
> Avg. student loan debt:
$23,025
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $50,489 (10th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 45.6% (23rd lowest)
> College attainment rate: 22.9% (5th lowest)

University library

43. Oklahoma
> Avg. student loan debt:
$23,430
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $52,491 (15th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 44.6% (20th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 24.2% (8th lowest)

Cheyenne, Wyoming
Source: Thinkstock

42. Wyoming
> Avg. student loan debt:
$23,708
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $65,231 (15th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 36.3% (7th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 26.6% (15th lowest)

University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus, Honolulu
Source: Thinkstock

41. Hawaii
> Avg. student loan debt:
$24,554
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $70,761 (7th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 34.7% (4th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 31.0% (16th highest)

Washington State University, Pullman
Source: Thinkstock

40. Washington
> Avg. student loan debt:
$24,804
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $66,336 (11th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 37.4% (9th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 33.1% (11th highest)

Student Housing, Gainesville, Florida
Source: Thinkstock

39. Florida
> Avg. student loan debt:
$24,947
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $50,523 (11th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 49.4% (19th highest)
> College attainment rate: 27.3% (16th lowest)

Boulder, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

38. Colorado
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,064
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $65,913 (13th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 38.0% (12th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 38.3% (2nd highest)

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Orange County
Source: Thinkstock

37. North Carolina
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,218
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $49,869 (8th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 50.6% (17th highest)
> College attainment rate: 28.7% (25th highest)

University of Arkansas Campus
Source: Thinkstock

36. Arkansas
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,344
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $46,814 (4th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 54.1% (10th highest)
> College attainment rate: 21.4% (3rd lowest)

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Source: Thinkstock

35. Tennessee
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,510
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $49,317 (7th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 51.7% (14th highest)
> College attainment rate: 25.3% (11th lowest)

Friends University, Wichita, Kansas
Source: Thinkstock

34. Kansas
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,521
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $57,186 (25th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 44.6% (19th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 31.5% (14th highest)

Columbia, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

33. Missouri
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,844
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $53,609 (17th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 48.2% (22nd highest)
> College attainment rate: 27.5% (19th lowest)

Murray State University, Kentucky
Source: Thinkstock

32. Kentucky
> Avg. student loan debt:
$25,939
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $50,396 (9th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 51.5% (15th highest)
> College attainment rate: 22.2% (4th lowest)

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Source: Thinkstock

31. South Dakota
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,023
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $57,732 (24th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 45.1% (21st lowest)
> College attainment rate: 27.8% (23rd lowest)

Boise, Idaho capital building
Source: Thinkstock

30. Idaho
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,091
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $51,693 (13th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 50.5% (18th highest)
> College attainment rate: 25.0% (10th lowest)

College Campus, Oregon
Source: Thinkstock

29. Oregon
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,106
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $55,196 (22nd lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 47.3% (23rd highest)
> College attainment rate: 30.8% (17th highest)

Ole Miss, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

28. Mississippi
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,177
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $43,630 (the lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 60.0% (2nd highest)
> College attainment rate: 21.1% (2nd lowest)

University of Texas
Source: Thinkstock

27. Texas
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,250
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $56,829 (24th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 46.2% (25th highest)
> College attainment rate: 27.8% (23rd lowest)

University of Nebraska
Source: Wikimedia Commons

26. Nebraska
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,278
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $57,385 (25th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 45.8% (24th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 29.5% (20th highest)

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

25. Virginia
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,432
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $69,830 (8th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 37.9% (11th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 36.7% (6th highest)

Wesleyan College, Georgia
Source: Thinkstock

24. Georgia
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,518
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $50,875 (12th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 52.1% (12th highest)
> College attainment rate: 29.1% (23rd highest)

Fairbanks, Alaska
Source: Thinkstock

23. Alaska
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,742
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $75,947 (4th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 35.2% (5th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 28.0% (24th lowest)

West Virginia University
Source: Thinkstock

22. West Virginia
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,854
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $47,828 (5th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 56.1% (4th highest)
> College attainment rate: 19.2% (the lowest)

University of Montana
Source: Thinkstock

21. Montana
> Avg. student loan debt:
$26,946
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $52,390 (14th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 51.4% (16th highest)
> College attainment rate: 29.3% (22nd highest)

Johns Hopkins, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

20. Maryland
> Avg. student loan debt:
$27,457
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $76,791 (2nd highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 35.8% (6th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 38.2% (3rd highest)

Columbia University, New York
Source: Thinkstock

19. New York
> Avg. student loan debt:
$27,822
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $65,922 (12th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 42.2% (17th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 34.5% (9th highest)

Princeton Chapel, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

18. New Jersey
> Avg. student loan debt:
$28,318
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $76,444 (3rd highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 37.0% (8th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 37.4% (5th highest)

Observatory, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

17. Wisconsin
> Avg. student loan debt:
$28,810
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $59,741 (23rd highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 48.2% (21st highest)
> College attainment rate: 28.4% (25th lowest)

Illinois Campus
Source: Thinkstock

16. Illinois
> Avg. student loan debt:
$28,984
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $61,967 (19th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 46.8% (24th highest)
> College attainment rate: 32.8% (12th highest)

University, Vermont
Source: Thinkstock

15. Vermont
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,060
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $63,242 (18th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 46.0% (25th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 34.9% (8th highest)

Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

14. South Carolina
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,163
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $48,981 (6th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 59.5% (3rd highest)
> College attainment rate: 26.3% (12th lowest)

Notre Dame, Indiana
Source: Thinkstock

13. Indiana
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,222
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $53,252 (16th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 54.9% (6th highest)
> College attainment rate: 24.7% (9th lowest)

Ohio State University
Source: Thinkstock

12. Ohio
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,353
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $54,070 (19th lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 54.3% (9th highest)
> College attainment rate: 26.6% (15th lowest)

Harvard, Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

11. Massachusetts
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,391
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $77,266 (the highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 38.0% (13th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 41.2% (the highest)

Auburn Campus, Alabama
Source: Thinkstock

10. Alabama
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,425
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $46,542 (3rd lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 63.2% (the highest)
> College attainment rate: 23.5% (7th lowest)

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Source: Thinkstock

9. Michigan
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,450
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $54,168 (21st lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 54.4% (8th highest)
> College attainment rate: 27.4% (18th lowest)

Iowa City, Iowa
Source: Thinkstock

8. Iowa
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,732
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $61,296 (20th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 48.5% (20th highest)
> College attainment rate: 27.7% (21st lowest)

Yale, New Haven, Connecticut
Source: Thinkstock

7. Connecticut
> Avg. student loan debt:
$29,750
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $73,982 (6th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 40.2% (14th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 38.0% (4th highest)

Maine Campus
Source: Thinkstock

6. Maine
> Avg. student loan debt:
$30,908
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $55,420 (23rd lowest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 55.8% (5th highest)
> College attainment rate: 29.4% (21st highest)

University, Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

5. Minnesota
> Avg. student loan debt:
$31,579
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $69,296 (9th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 45.6% (22nd lowest)
> College attainment rate: 34.3% (10th highest)

Brown University, Rhode Island
Source: Thinkstock

4. Rhode Island
> Avg. student loan debt:
$31,841
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $59,873 (22nd highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 53.2% (11th highest)
> College attainment rate: 30.4% (19th highest)

Crest Cedar College, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Source: Thinkstock

3. Pennsylvania
> Avg. student loan debt:
$33,264
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $60,743 (21st highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 54.8% (7th highest)
> College attainment rate: 29.0% (24th highest)

Baker and Rauner Libraries on the Dartmouth College Green

2. New Hampshire
> Avg. student loan debt:
$33,410
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $75,603 (5th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 44.2% (18th lowest)
> College attainment rate: 35.0% (7th highest)

Delaware County, Ohio
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Delaware
> Avg. student loan debt:
$33,808
> Median household income 25-44 yr. old: $65,037 (16th highest)
> Student loan debt as pct. household income: 52.0% (13th highest)
> College attainment rate: 30.6% (18th highest)

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