Special Report

States With the Most Past-Due Student Debt

The Biden Administration’s recent announcement regarding student debt relief thrust the topic into the forefront of the news. Under the program, students awarded Pell Grants and who took out loans from the Department of Education will have $20,000 of debt canceled. Those without a Pell Grant will have $10,000 shaved off their outstanding balances.

According to the Department of Education, federal student loans currently total $1.6 trillion. All told, 45 million borrowers hold federal student loan debt. A typical undergraduate student leaves school $25,000 in debt. (These are the most expensive states to get a college education.)

Burdened by that much debt, many college graduates are not always able to keep up with monthly payments. But the numbers vary by state. To identify the states with the most past-due student debt, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states by the percentage of people with student debt 90 days past due in 2021 using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

The average student loan debt by state comes from the Education Data Initiative for 2022, while the percentage of graduating students with debt in 2019-2020 comes from The Institute for College Access and Success. Adults with at least a bachelor’s degree and the poverty rate in each state comes from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2020 five-year Estimates.

The state with highest percentage of student debt holders in arrears is Mississippi at nearly 11%. With the highest poverty rate in the nation, students may already have a tough time making ends meet. The state is also home to the second lowest percentage of bachelor degree graduates at 22.8%. (See the ZIP codes where the most people have college degrees.)

In New York state, only 4.8% of student loan borrowers have skipped payments and are 90 days past due – the lowest share in the nation. Yet all students struggling to pay down their federal loans can breathe a sigh of relief. The government extended the repayment hiatus until December 31.

Click here to see the states with the most past-due student debt.

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